tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 30, 2013 8:00pm-1:00am EST
's love and trust. thank you all very much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] x coming up, gaby giffords, her husband mark kelly, testifying on gun violence. 11:50, senator kirsten gillibrand. later, immigration reform efforts. former arizona congresswoman gabrielle giffords, who was shot in had a constituent event two years ago, testified before the senate judiciary committee on preventing future gun violence. her husband, mark kelly, an nra ceo wayne lapierre also
>> we have more than 200 people here today and hundreds more watching on our committee web cast. i expect everybody in this room to be respectful of the senators and the witnesses speaking about this very serious subject. i do not want applause for or against any position. the capitol police have been notified to remove any audience interference in an effort to have orderly conduct for that. that is a warning i give the many hearings. we will hear a lot of perspective on gun violence. i will give opening statements. but we have a former member of congress here, gaby giffords who will give a brief message and believed and captain kelly, thank you for your help in bringing your wife here.
when 20 young children and dedicated educators were murdered. this is the first judiciary committee in of the 113th congress. i want everybody here to join the discussion as part of a collective effort to find solutions to help insure that no family, no school, no community ever has to endorse such agree this tragedy again. we have to come together today as americans seeking common cause. i hope we can forgo sloganeering. it is too important for that. we should be here as americans. every american abhors the recent tragedies. in just the last two years, an elementary school in connecticut, a movie theater in colorado, a sacred place of
worship in wisconsin, in front of a shopping mall in arizona, americans are looking to us for solutions and for action. this committee is a focal point for that process. i have introduced with having law enforcement agencies to enforce restricting gun trafficking. others want to ban ammunition clips and others have proposed modifications to the background check system to keep guns out of the wrong hands while not unnecessarily burdening law- abiding citizens. i am a lifelong vermonter. i know gun store owners in vermont. they follow the law. they conduct background checks to prevent getting guns to those who should not have them. they wonder why others who sell guns to not have to follow the same protective rules.
i agree with these responsible business owners. if we could all agree that criminals and those adjudicated mentally ill should not buy firearms, why should we not try to plug the loopholes in the law that allows them to buy guns without background checks? it is a simple matter of common sense. if we agree the background check system is worth while, shouldn't we try to improve its content and use it so it can be more effective? what responsible gun owner objects to improving the background check system? when i bought firearms in vermont, i go through the background check. i would expect everybody else, too. at the outset of this hearing, i note that the second amendment is secure and will remain secure and protected. in two recent cases, the supreme court has concerned that the -- has ruled that the second amendment secures a
fundamental individual right. merrick and have the right to self- defense. they have the right to have guns in their homes to protect their families. no one can take away those rights or their guns. the second man that rights are the foundation on which our discussion rest. they are not at risk. what is at risk is lives. lives are wrist when responsible people fail to follow laws to keep guns out of that hands of those who use them to commit murder, especially mass murders. i ask we focus our discussion on additional statutory measures to better protect our children and all americans. i say this as a parent and the grandparent. ours is a free society, and open society. we come together today to consider how to become a safer
and more secure society. no one begrudges the government assistance provided to victims of mass tragedies made possible by those law we passed after the bombing in oklahoma city. the bill introduced last week against gun trafficking will soon prove helpful and i believe it will become an accepted part of our free more. -- framework. it, too, is common-sense reform. it fills a hole in our law enforcement arsenal so that purchasers who procure weapons for criminals can be prosecuted more effectively. last thursday, the u.s. attorney for minnesota was nominated and we have two from his state on this committee. he nominated the u.s. attorney to direct the committee.
we will join a good faith to strengthen our law enforcement against gun violence and to protect public safety. as a responsible governor and someone who cherishes all of our constitutional rights, as a senator who has sworn an oath to uphold those rights, as a father and grandfather, and as a former prosecutor who has seen the results of gun violence firsthand in graphic detail, undertake these efforts in the hope that this hearing can build consensus around common sense solutions. previous measures to close gun show loopholes or to improve the background check system have been bypassed. -- bipartisan. i hope in this new congress,
further improvements will also become bipartisan. we could act together as americans. i have said what kind of measures i can propose. i will ask other senators to come forward and do as well. i will ask our witnesses what legislative proposals that support to make america safer and i think everybody here for joining in today's discussion. senator grassley? >> mr. chairman, thank you as well for this hearing. thanks to everybody here who is here particularly our witnesses. what happened at newtown shocked our nation. we will never forget where we were or how we reacted when he learned that 20 very young children and six adults were killed that day or if we forgot about that specific incident, you don't forget about all the tragedies that have happened recently. as a grandfather and great- grandfather, i cannot imagine how anyone would commit an evil act like that. i cannot ever begin to know what it would be like to be a
relative of one of those slain children we pray for the families who continue to mourn the loss of loved ones. we pay for -- we pray for all victims of violence and guns by guns and otherwise. violent crimes and those who commit them are a plague on our society, one that has been with us for far too long. we have looked at these issues before but i welcome this renewed discussion. i think the need for the judiciary committee to hold hearings after new town is very clear. all over america, people were appalled by what happened to those ball marble and precious victims. we all want sensible actions that could reduce the likelihood of future crimes. we have extended a special
welcome to former congresswoman giffords who was doing what a conscientious representative should do and a whole lot of us do, taking the pulse of constituents to represent them in congress. she was representing the people of her congressional district when gunmen opened fire. the shooting was a horrible tragedy of her determination to overcome her injuries, progress toward rehabilitation and continued contribution to society are an inspiration or at least should be to all of us. i thank her for being here today and with her husband, captain kelley. although new town and to some are terrible tragedies, the deaths in newtown should not be used to put forward every gun control measure that has been floating around for years. the problem is greater than just guns alone and i think the chairman's speech indicates that as well.
any serious discussion of the causes of gun violence must include a complex re-examination of mental health as it relates to mass shootings. society as a whole has changed as well and that statement is that it is difficult to measure but there is a lack of civility in american society and that has grown considerably in the last couple of decades. you see it here in the congress as well when we are partisan and do not treat each other with the respect that we ought to. there are too many video games that celebrate mass killing of innocent people, games that despite attempts at industry's self regulation, find their aunt -- find a way into the hands of children. one videogame released in november, 2009, which has sold over 22 million copies was, for foreign distribution, because
the opening level depicted shooting innocent civilians in an airport security line. this game was specifically cited in a manifesto of the norway mass shooter as "part of my training simulation" carrying out his attacks. where is the artistic value of shooting innocent victims? i share of vice president joe biden's disbelief of manufacture denial that these games have no affect on real- world violence spread above all, we should not pass legislation that will not reduce mass killing. banning guns based on their appearance does not make sense. the 1994 assault weapon ban did not stop columbine. the justice department found the ban ineffective. scholars have indicated that refining or expanding social legislation will not cut gun violence. i also question the limitation on magazine capacity.
those can be circumvented by carrying multiple guns as many killers have done. we hear that no one needs to carry larger magazines and those that hunters used to shoot deer is but an attacking criminal, and like a deer, shoots back. -- unlike a deer, shoots back. i do not think -- i think we may be able to work together to prevent straw purchasers from trafficking in guns. the oversight work i conducted on illegal operation fast and furious shows there are some gaps in this area of law that should be close. beside legislative proposals, the president recently took 23 executive actions on guns. without knowing exactly how they are worded, we cannot find fault with them. and we probably should not fall -- find fault with a lot of his actions. despite this administration's claim to be the most transparent in history, the text of these actions is still not
posted on the white house website, only very brief spate months about what they do. all those executive actions could have been issued years ago or after the tucson shooting or after aurora. why only now? one statement directs the cdc to continue studies on gun violence. congress has never prohibited cdc from researching gun violence rather, congress prevented federal research to "advocate or promote gun control" which some government researchers have been doing under the guise of taxpayer supported science. had congress prohibited by -- gun violence research, the president could not legally directed cdc to conduct research. i was taken aback when the president cited the declaration of independence and constitution as sources of government power to restrict gun order shipwrights pri the constitution, in fact, create a limited federal government. it separates powers among branches of the federal
government and preserve state power and federal power pretty framers believe the structures would adequately control the government so as to protect individual liberties but the american people disagree. they fear the constitution gave the federal money government told so much power, it could be tyrannical and violate individual rights of the bill of rights was added. each of those rights, including the second amendment, was adopted to further limit government power and protect individual rights. president obama's remarks turned the constitution on its head. he said "the right to worship freely and safely, that right was denied to sikhs in oak creek, wisconsin." the right to assemble peacefully was denied to those in oregon and moviegoers in colorado. that fundamental set of rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness or rights that were denied to college students at virginia tech and high school students in
columbine an elementary school students in newtown. this is not so. except for its prohibition on slavery, the constitution only limits actions of government, not individuals. the right to peacefully assemble protect individual rights to organize, protest, and seek to change government action. that right is trivialized and missed characterized as protecting shopping and watching movies and those constitutional rights are not the source of governmental powers to enact legislation as the president suggested. in fact, just the opposite. they were included in the bill of rights because throughout history, governments have wanted to shut up those who would criticize government, to suppress unpopular religions, or disarm people. the president cited constitutional protections of individual rights as the basis for expanded federal power or lives of private individuals. this is the same president who exceeded his power under the constitution to appoint recess appointments.
no wonder millions of americans fear the president might take executive action and congress may enact legislation that could lead to a tyrannical federal government. i cannot accept the president's claim that there will be politicians and special interests warning of tyrannical all-out assault on liberty, not because that is true, but because they want to gin up fear. this understandably leads many citizens to figure that their individual rights will be violated. that extends well beyond the second amendment. it should be a matter of deep concern to all of us. the constitution for 225 years established a government that is a servant of the people, not the master. as we consider and debate legislation arising from these tragedies, i hope we will proceed with proper understanding of the relationship that the constitution established between government power and
individual liberty and i hope we will pass those bills that will actually be effective in reducing gun violence i welcome the witnesses and look forward to this hearing, thank you very much. >> i would ask that captain mark kelly and chief james johnson, mr. carter and ms. williams appear, sit behind europe -- stand behind your chair since we're in for the panel one time. please raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are given is the truth, altered, and nothing but the truth, so help me god? let the record show that the witnesses have been sworn in. take your seats and i will suggest that i will call on each witness and try to keep to very strict time and call on
each one to give their testimony and then we will open for questions and the usual way, alternating on both sides. our first witness is mark kelly. he is a retired astronauts and u.s. navy capt. and he recently co-founded americans for responsible solutions. says an advocacy group that promotes solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership. he did it with his wife, former congresswoman gabrielle giffords. capt. kelly, please go ahead, sir. >> thank yo for inviting me here today. i look forward to a constructive and constructive dialogue with your committee. i want to take the opportunity
to congratulate gay's friend jeff flake as you know, our family has been immeasurably affected by gun violence. gaby's gift for speech as a distant memory. she struggles to walk. she is partially blind. a year ago, she left the job she loved, serving the people of arizona. in the past two years, we have watched her determination, spirit, and intellect, per disabilities. we are not here as victims. we are speaking to you today as americans. we are a lot like many of our fellow citizens following this debate about gun violence where moderates, gaby was a republican long before she was a moderate. we take the responsibilities that come with it very seriously. we walked with horror when the news breaks to yet another
tragic shooting. after 20 kids and six of their teachers were gunned down in their classrooms at sandy hook elementary, we said this time must be different. something needs to be done. we are simply too reasonable americans who have said enough. on january 8 of 2011, a young man walked up to gaby at her constituent event in tucson, leveled his gun, and shot her through the head. he then turned it down the line and continued firing. in 15 seconds, he emptied his magazine. it contained 33 bullets and there were 33 wounds. as the shooter attended to reload, he fumbled, woman grabbed the next magazine and others restrained him. gaby was the first victim. christine taylor green, nine years old, born on 9/11 of 2001, was shot with the 13th bullet or after.
others followed. the killer in the tucson shooting suffered from severe mental illness but even after being deemed unqualified for service in the army and expulsion from college, he was never reported to mental health authorities. on november 30, 2010, he walked into a sporting goods store, past the background check, and walked out with a semiautomatic handgun. he had never been legally adjudicated as mentally ill and even if he had, ariz., at the time, had over 121,000 records of disqualifying mental illness that it had not submitted into the system. looking back, we cannot say with certainty only if we had done this, this would never have happened. there is not just one thing that would have prevented the tucson shooting from being written into the history books.
gaby is one of roughly 100,000 victims of gun violence in america each and every year. behind every victim lays a matrix of failure and inadequacy in our families, our communities, our values, in our society's approach to poverty, violence, and mental illness and yes, also in our politics and in our gun laws. one of our message is simple -- the breadth and complexity of gun violence is great but it is not an excuse for inaction. there's another side to our story -- gaby is a gun owner and i am a gun owner and we have our firearms for the same reasons that millions of americans just like us have guns, to defend ourselves, to defend our families, for hunting, and for target shooting. we believe wholly and completely in the second amendment and that it confers upon all americans the right to
own a firearm for protection, collection, and recreation. we take that right very seriously and we would never, ever give it up, just like gaby with never relinquish her gun and i would never relinquish mind. rights demand responsibility and this right does not extend to terrorists, it does not extend to criminals, and it does not extend to the mentally ill. when dangerous people get guns, we are all hon., at the movies, at church, conducting our everyday business, meeting with a government official and time after time after time, at school, on our campuses, and in our children's classrooms. dangerous people get dangerous guns, we are all the more vulnerable. dangerous people with weapons specifically designed to inflict maximum lethality upon
others have turned every single corner of our society into places of carnage and the gross human loss. our rights are paramount but our responsibilities are serious. as a nation, we're not take responsibility for the gun rights that our founding fathers have conferred upon us. we have some ideas on how we can take responsibility. first, fixed on background checks. zero holes and hour laws making a mockery of the background checks in our system. congress should close the private sales loophole and the dangers people entered into that system. second, remove the limitations on collecting data and conducting scientific research on gun violence. enact a tough federal gun trafficking statute, this is really important.
finally, let's have a careful and civil conversation about the lethality of fire arms we permit to be legally bought and sold in this country. gaby and i are pro-gun ownership and anti-gun violence and we believe that in this debate, congress should look not toward special interests and ideology which push us apart but towards compromise which brings us together. we believe whether you call yourself protest gun or anti-gun violence or both, that you can work together to pass laws that save lives. thank you. >> thank you. next witness is a research director for the independent institute as well as an associate policy analyst with the cato institute, an adjunct professor in constitutional law at denver use of -- at denver university.
did they get that correct? thank you. >> thank you. to continue the theme that captain kelly so eloquently spoke about, gun rights and gun control do not have to be a culture war enemies. proper early conceived, they can work together and reinforce each other. it is important to recognize that the second amendment is not absolute any more than the first amendment is brit is certainly has an absolute core that cannot be violated under any circumstances but that does not prohibit all firearms controls. >> excuse me, all the statements will be put in the record in full so we can keep close to the time. >> thank you, i will keep very close to the time. likewise, gun-control does not violate the second amendment if
it is constructed so does not violate the rights of law- abiding citizens and they actually do something constructive, significant, and affected to protect law-abiding citizens. captain kelly talked-about the failure of the matrix. i 20 -- i testified 25 years ago before this committee about one thing that turned out to be part of that matrix of failure and that was the ban on so-called assault weapons. i warned during that testimony then that it was based not on the function of guns or how fast they fired or how powerful they were bought on superficial, cosmetic characteristics and accessories. as part of a compromise that eventually led to that bill being mistakenly passed by congress, the bill had a 10- year sunset and a requirement that the the part of justice supervised a study of the effectiveness of that law.
that study -- the people to carry about -- carry out that study were chosen by janet reno at the department of justice and they concluded that the law had done nothing. it did not save lives. it had did not reduce the number of bullets fired in crimes. it had been a failure. to some minor degree, it switched the type of guns used in crimes so you had a gun with one name instead of another name but it did not reduce crime overall. indeed, it was a dangerous bill in the sense that so much political attention was distracted by the focus on this that it took public attention away from debate on measures that might have been more constructive and life-saving. today, police and law abiding citizens to semiautomatic handguns and rifles such as the ar-15 for the same reason, they are also a choice to defend. these are only meant for mass murder and that would libel law abiding citizens. they do not choose his guns for
hunting or collecting but the purpose for which police of is a carry firearms, for all lawful defense of self and others. great britain shows the perils of mass gun confiscation that some people have proposed. as a hired violent crime rate and the united states and especially high rate of home invasion burglaries. congress has repeatedly out log gun registration because of the actor recognition that another country gun registration has been used for confiscation. since 1941, 1986, 1993 congressional statutes are one way the gun rights can be protected against future abuses. unfortunately, the bill's about universal background checks that have been proposed in recent congresses with the
support of new york city mayor michael bloomberg have often had provisions and then for gun registration and many other violations of the civil liberties of law-abiding persons such as allowing gun bans for people accused but acquitted of drug crimes. universal background checks should be available. it was a wise move by president obama in his january 16 press conference to begin changes in federal drug -- regulations to allow the private sellers to access the background check system v licensed firearm dealers. many people would take advantage of that and i commend them but mandating universal checks can only be enforceable if there is universal gun registration and we know that universal gun registration in every country in the world where it has existed has been a serious peril to gun ownership. universal gun registration was imposed by canada in 1995 and was later repealed in 2012 by the canadian parliament because
it was such a fiasco. if we want to save lives right now, there is only one thing that will stop the next copycat killer in the lawful armed self-defense and the schools not only by armed guards but also by teachers. utah provides the successful model. there, a teacher who has a permit to carry every background check and safety training class everywhere else in the state is not prohibited from carrying at the school. gun prohibition lobbies, the balkans a fantastic scenarios about the harm is that these would cause that teachers would shoot each other or threaten students or the students will steal the guns. they have had this practice in utah and many years and there has never been a single problem. we have never had an attack on a utah school. want to save lives, armed defense in schools is the media and best choice while other constructive solutions may take longer to have any effect, thank you. >> thank you very much.
chief james johnson is the police chief of the baltimore county police department. he started his career as a police cadet at the age of 80. has more than 30 years of experience with the department. he is also the chair of the national law enforcement partnership to prevent the violence and represents nine national law enforcement organizations. chief, thank you for taking the time to be here, please go ahead, sir. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify. i am here on behalf of the national law enforcement partnership to prevent gun violence. >> your microphone on? >> yes, it is. i am here on behalf of the national law enforcement
partnership to prevent gun violence. it aligns the nation's law enforcement leadership organizations concerned about the unacceptable level of gun violence in the united states. we mourn loss of gun violence victims including the 20 children and six adults in newtown whose lives were cut short by an individual armed with firepower originally designed for combat. more than 30 homicides occur in america each day, 2000 children, and six adults and newtown are among those individuals. "18 and under die from gun- related violence every year. in 2011 for the first time in 14 years, fire arms was a leading cause of death for police officers killed in a line of duty. in one week period, in 2011, the police executive research forum found that a gun crime in six cities would cost more than $38 million. the year 2010, the cost in the entire country was more than $57 billion trade we urgently
need congress to address the rising epidemic of gun violence in this nation. and for some leaders support the president paz comprehensive approach which includes enhancing safety and educational institutions and addresses mental health issues. on behalf of my colleagues across the nation, i am here today to tell you that we are long overdue in strengthening our nation's gun laws. doing so must be a priority for congress. organizations in the national law enforcement partnership to prevent gun violence are urgently calling on you to require background checks for all firearms purchases, to insure that records are in a system and they are complete and limit high capacity ammunition devices for 10 rounds. seven of our nine groups including the largest among us
also support senator feinstein's assault weapons ban legislation. federal law prohibits dangerous individuals such as convicted felons and those with mental health this qualifiers for possessing firearms. background checks are required on dealers, no check is required for private sales such as those for online or print ads or gun shows. is a major problem. from november, 2011-november, 2012, an estimated 16.6 million transactions occurred without a background check. this occurs for private individuals rather than licensed gun dealers. it allows 40 percent of those requiring guns to bypass checks, it is like allowing 40% of passengers to board a plan without going through security. would we do this? last october in brookfield, wisconsin, seven women were shot by present -- by a
prohibited purchaser was under a restraining order. the shooter answered an online ad was able to buy a gun without a check of very quickly. had the sale been required to have a check, the tragedy could have been prevented. background checks work. they stop nearly 2 million prohibited purchasers between 1994-2009. we already have a national background check system in place. therefore extending the background check to all purchases can easily be implemented and it should be without delay. states cannot do it alone. interstate firearms trafficking is a rampant problem and it must be addressed federally. according to atf, 2009, 30% of guns recovered had -- at crime scenes crossed state lines. maryland recovered nearly 2000 last year from outside the state.
in 20007 massacre at virginia tech is a great example of a prepared to purchase are slipping through the cracks due to thenix branch checks. the ban on high-capacity magazines must be reinstated. like assault weapons, high- capacity magazines are not used for hunting. they do not belong in our homes and a recovery of our community. banning these magazines will limit the number of rounds a shooter can discharge before he had to reload. reloading can provide a window to escape an offer cover or concealment or attacked the adversary. to take down the shooter -- in 1998, after the ban was enacted, the percentage of firearms of large capacity magazines decrease to and continued to drop until it hit a low of 9% of the weapons recovered.
in 2004, the year the ban expired, it hit a high of 20% in 2010. i have been in law enforcement for nearly 35 years and i have seen an explosion of firepower since the assault weapons ban expired. it is common to find many showcasing that crime scenes when you investigate. victims are being riddled with multiple gunshots. the common-sense measures we call for will not infringe on the second amendment rights but will keep guns out of the dangers hands of people who are out there to commit danger in our society and excessive power -- firepower out of our communities. generations of americans including our youngest are depending on you to ensure that they will grow up and fulfill their roles in the great human experience. none of us can fail them and i urge you to follow the will of the american public on this issue and stand with law
enforcement when these common- sense public safety measures. thank you. >> thank you, chief. our next witness is gail trotter, the co-founder of her law firm here in washington. she is also a senior in an independent women's forum. good to have you here, go ahead, please. >> chairman lady gaga record number grassley, and members of this committee, thank you for inviting me to appear before you today. we all want a safer society. we differ on how to make our society safer. we differ on whether some proposals will actually increase public safety. i urge you to reject any actions that will fail to make americans safer. in particular, are women the most i would like to begin with the compelling story of sara mckinley. she was home alone with her
baby, she called 911 when two violent intruders began to break down her front door. these men are forcing their way into our home to steal the prescription medication of her recently deceased husband. before police could arrive, while she was still on the phone with 911, these violent intruder broke down her door one of the man had a foot long hunting knife. the intruder forced their way into that her home, she fired her weapon. she fatally wounded one of the violent attackers. the other fled. later, she explained that it was either going to beat him or my son. it was not going to be my son. guns make women safer. over 90% of violent crimes occur without a firearm which makes guns the great equalizer for women.
the vast majority of violent criminals use their size and their physical strength to prey on women who are at a severe disadvantage. in a violent confrontation, bonds reversed the balance of power. an armed woman does not need superior strength or the proximity of a hand-to-hand struggle. concealed carry laws reverse that balance of power even before a violent confrontation occurs. for a would-be criminal, but carry laws but reduce the risk of committing a crime. this indirectly benefits even those who do not carry. research shows that in jurisdictions with concealed carry laws, women are less likely to be raped or murdered than they are in states with more restrictions on gun ownership. armed security works. brave men and women stand guard
over capitol hill, including this building where we are now. armed guards protect high- profile individuals including prominent gun-control advocates, some of whom also rely on personal gun permits. while armed security works, gun bans do not anti-gun legislation keep guns away from the same and the law-abiding but not criminals. no sober minded person would advocate a gun ban instead of armed security to protect banks, airports, or government buildings. we need sensible enforcement of laws that are already on the books. currently, we have thousands, thousands of under-enforced or selectively enforce gun laws and we failed to prosecute serious gun violations and impose meaningful, consistent penalties for gun felonies involving firearms.
instead of self-defeating gestures, we should address the gun violence based on what works. guns make women safer. the supreme court has recognized that lawful self- defense is east -- is an essential component of the second amendment guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms. for women, the ability to arm ourselves for our protection is even more consequential than for men. because guns are the great equalizer in a violent confrontation. as a result, we protect women by safeguarding our second amendment rights. every woman deserves a fighting chance. thank you. >> excuse me, thank you very much. our last witness is wayne la peirre of the national rifle
association. i believe you have been there since 1970? >> that is correct. >> please go ahead. >> thank you, mr. chairman and members of the committee. there are more than 4.5 million moms and dads and sons and daughters -- >> press that white button. >> thank you. it is an honor to be here today on behalf of the more than 4.5 million moms and dads and sons and daughters in every state across our nation will make up the national rifle association of america. there are 4.5 million active members of the nra and they are joined by tens of millions of supporters throughout the country. it is on behalf of those millions of decent, hard- working, law-abiding citizens that i am here today to give voice to their concerns.
the title of today's hearing is what should america do about gun violence?" we believe the answer is to be honest about what works and honest about what does not work. teaching safe and responsible gun ownership works and the nra has a long and proud history of doing exactly that our child safety program has taught 25 million young people that if they see a gun, they should do four things -- stop, don't touch it, leave the area, and call an adult. as a result of this and other private-sector programs, fatal fire arms accidents are apples level in 100 years. -- at the lowest level in 100 years. the nra has over 80,000 certified instructors to teach our military personnel, law enforcement officers, and hundreds of thousands other american men and women how to safely use firearms. do more and spend more than anyone else on teaching safe
and responsible gun ownership. we have no more sacred duty and to protect our children and keep them safe. that is why we asked ace the hutchinson to bring in every available expert to develop a model school shield program, one that can be individually tailored to make our schools as safe as possible. it is time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children. about a third of our schools right now have our security already, because it works. and that number is growing every day. right now, state officials, local authorities, and school districts in 50 states are considering their own plan to protect children in schools.
we need to enforce the thousands of gun laws already on the books. prosecuting criminals who miss use firearms works. unfortunately, we have seen a dramatic collapse in federal gun prosecutions in recent years. overall, in 2011, federal firearms prosecution's per- capita were down 35% from their peak in the previous administration. that means violent felons, a violent gang members and drug dealers with guns and the mentally ill who possessed firearms are not being prosecuted. that is completely and totally unacceptable. not more than 76 -- there are more than 76,000 firearms purchases denied federally. only 62 of those were proposed for prosecution and only 46 went to court.
i think we can agree that our mental health system is broken. we need to look at the full range of mental health issues, from early detection treatment, to civil commitment laws to privacy laws that needlessly prevent mental health records from being included from the national list and check system. while we're waiting for a meaningful effort to solve these pressing problems, we must respectfully, but honestly and firmly disagree with many members of the committee and the media on what will keep our kids safe. law-abiding gun honors will not accept the blame for the acts of of what -- gun owners will not accept blame for acts of criminals. as i said earlier, we need to be honest about what works and what does not. proposals but would only serve to burden the law-abiding have failed in the past and will
fail in the future. semiautomatic firearm technology has been around for 100 years. they are the most popular guns for hunting, target shooting, self-defense. despite this fact, congress banned the manufacture and sale of hundreds of semi-automatic firearms from 1994 through 2004. independent studies, including one from the clinton justice department, approved it had no impact on lowering crime. and when it comes to background checks, let's be honest. they will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them. there are a lot of things that can be done and we ask you to join with us. the nra is made up of millions of americans who support what it is -- what works. the immediate protection for all, not just some, of our school children is what is needed, and swift punishment of criminals who misuse guns in fixing our mental health system. we love our families. we love our country.
we believe in freedom. and we are the way -- the millions from all walks of life to take responsibility and protection as a god-given, fundamental american right. >> chief johnson, let me begin with you, sir. in my experience, many criminals are able to get guns illegally because they use straw purchases. in other words, a person with no criminal records can easily pass a background check and then goes and buys the guns and turns them around and gives them to criminals. there is no federal law that makes it illegal to act as a straw purchaser of firearms. last week, i introduced a bill that will strengthen federal law to combat firearms trafficking and it would specifically target straw
purchasers. do you think there should be such a lot? >> the background procedures in this nation are seriously in need of modification. again, 40% of those acquiring firearms tried to do it outside the background procedure. senator, you are absolutely correct, many will use a straw purchaser to go in and acquire these firearms. it happens every day across america. it is a serious problem. in national law enforcement provision to prevent gun violence support your initiative to address that issue. >> thank you, chief. we also heard testimony about the safety of women and gun violence. i'm seeking immediate consideration of the violence against riyadh -- against women reauthorization act. it will be on the floor of the
senate for a vote in the next couple of weeks. i did this out of concern for domestic violence victims. statistics show win in this country are killed at alarming rates -- when men in this country are killed at alarming rates by domestic abusers with guns prepare -- women in this country are killed at alarming rates by domestic users with guns. if he is able to get a gun with a straw purchaser, of course, he still gets it, but he will not be able to purchase a gun and a background check is conducted. that is, if he is a criminal. 38% fewer women are shot in states that require a background check before a gun is purchase. do you agree that if we want to keep firearms away from domestic abusers, who are not
supposed to have them anyway, we have to have a better background check system and require a background check for every firearm purchasers? >> absolutely. i would like to stand before this group today and say, i've spent my years of chasing down violent armed robbers and every day. as a young patrol officer, most of my day was one domestic to another. statistics show that when females are killed, over 50% of the time it is a spouse or household member. a gun and a home where there is a history of domestic violence, statistics show that there is a 500% increase in the chance that the person will be victimized by gun violence. we introduced legislation to allow us to go out and sees the guns of domestic violence of users where it has obtained a
protective order. this has been very effective. in my jurisdiction, which averages about 3500 domestic violence incidents a year, this has had a significant impact in reducing those domestic. two of the last three years, was below the 40-year homicide rate. this has helped us tremendously. >> thank you. captain kelley, it appears that you have said that background checks would not work because criminals would not submit to them. i understand that, but they do not have to go through background checks because there are so many loopholes. do you agree that there is nothing that we can do to strengthen our background checks?
>> i disagree. there is a lot we can do. the situation that i know best is what happened in tucson, january 8, 2011. jared loughner, the shooter in this case, when he purchased a gun, he purchased it through a background check. but there was a lot of evidence that could have been in the criminal background check system about him that would have prevented him from buying a gun through a background check. that is part of the problem. -- part of the solution. the other problem is, let's say, he was denied the purchase of the gun, which he purchased in november, 2010. it would have been easy for him to go to a gun show and purchase one without a background check. there are many things that can be done. and in my opinion, and ingabby'
s opinion, this is one of the most important things that we must do to prevent terrorists, criminals, and the mentally ill from having access to guns. closing loopholes and requiring private sellers to require a background check to transfer a gun, for us, i cannot think of something that would make our country safer than doing just that. >> thank you. in 1999, you testified before the house judiciary committee, and you testified "nobody is more committed than we are and to keeping guns out of criminal hands. that is in our best interest." i assume you are still committed to that endeavor, correct? >> correct. >> and do you agree that we should prosecute and help get those criminals to get done? -- get guns?
>> if you're talking straw man sales, we have said they should be prosecuted for years. >> you agree that we should help catch criminals who get guns? >> if they are doing a straw man sale, they should be prosecuted. absolutely. >> and you have instead of background checks at gun sales and gun shows, no background checks for anyone. statistics show that nearly 2 million convicted criminals have tried to buy firearms and were prevented. do you still, as you did in 1999, still support mandatory background checks at gun shows? yes or no? >> we support the national check
system on dealers. we were here when one of your colleagues held the hearings in terms of who would be a dealer and who would be required to have a license. if you did it for live the good and profit, yes. if you did it for a hobby, no. >> let's make easy. i'm talking about gun shows. should we have mandatory background checks at gun shows for sales of weapons? >> if you are a dealer, that is already the law. >> that is not my question. please, i'm not trying to play games. if you could, just answer my question. >> i do not believe the way the lot is working now, unfortunately, that it does any good to extend the law to private sale between hobbyists and collectors. >> you do not support background checks in all instances at gun shows? >> we do not, because the fact
is, the law right now is a failure the way it is working. you have 76,000 people that have been denied under the present law. only 44 were prosecuted. you are letting them go. they're walking the street. >> back in 1999, you said no loopholes anywhere for anyone. but now you do not support a background checks for all buyers of firearms? >> the system the way it is working now is a failure. this administration is not prosecuting the people they catch. 23 states are not even putting the mental records of those adjudicated incompetent into the system. if they try to buy a gun, even if you catch them, and they try to walk away, you let them. they are criminals, homicidal maniacs and mentally ill. we all know that, maniacs and the mentally insane do not abide by the law.
>> my time is up. with all due respect, that is not a question i asked. nor did you answer it. >> but i think it is the answer. i honestly do. >> it is your testimony, senator grassley. >> before i ask a question, senator hatch asked if i would explain to everyone here why he left. he is a member of the financial committee and he has to be there for that. professor kappel, was the 1994 assault weapons ban effective in reducing non-violence? and secondly, is there any reason for reenacting an assault weapons ban? >> based on the department of justice study, the answer was no.
it was something that was tried with great sincerity. a lot of people thought it would be a good idea. but it did not seem to save any lives. not that the researchers could find. the revised law is just more of the same, but it suffers from the same fundamental problem. you can have a 1994 law that list some guns by name and a 2013 law that lists more guns by name, but the very fact that you are listing them by name and banning them, that is an example of how the law does not address the guns fire power their rate of fire. if there is something that makes these guns more dangerous, then legislation ought to be able to identify that in mutual terms. the present bill, like its 1994 predecessor, also has outlawed things based on various features.
these are not things that have to do with internal mechanics of the gun, how fast it fires, or powerful the bullets are. there are things like a rifle with a forward grip. the forward grip on the rifle helps the user stabilize it and make it more accurate, so that if you are deer hunting, the second shot is almost as accurate as the first -- or if you are target shooting. or most important, if you are engaged in lawful self-defense. that is why they are issued as standard in police cars all over the country, because they make the gun more accurate for the core purpose of the second amendment, which is lawful self- defense. >> chief johnson and professor kopel, listen while i ask each of you a question. recently, an article was written and in it, a bipartisan group of
elected sheriffs and police chiefs offered a candid assessments of current legislative proposals. one chief of police stated, "i think banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines is strictly a feel-good measure and will not accomplish anything." instead, they ask for options for getting mentally ill individuals treatment. chief clark in iowa added, "we identified some that are mentally ill. they need treatment. but we cannot access the system." chief johnson, what options do your officers have? i quoted iowa, but what options do you currently have to deal with mental illness? >> it is a major problem in
america today, and in my jurisdiction. i'm here to talk about ways to stop gun violence. we know that banning high- capacity magazines will make our police officers savers -- safer. we have lost dozens of police officers in america do to assault weapons. and we have seen tragedy's all across this great nation in many cities. an off-duty police officer -- you are never off duty -- shot down by an assault weapon. it it must be addressed. >> you wrote an article last week and i would like to have that included in the record. is there a change to civil laws that could play a part in mass shootings? and what can we do to keep guns
away from the mentally ill and consistent with second amendment? >> consistently, they played roles in homicide. according to the department of justice research, about one sixth of the people in state prisons for homicide are mentally ill. if you look at these mass murders where suicidal people try to end their lives in the most infamous way possible, in tucson, virginia tech, newtown, aurora, you have a strong threat of mental illness running through debt. and certainly, approving the background check, the data about mental health adjudication, not just a psychiatrist recommendation, but what do process and the constitution require, which is an adjudication, a fair decision by a decision maker.
getting those things into the background check is something that congress started working on after virginia tech, and there's more progress to be made. it is not just a matter of checks. even with the most ideal checking system in the world, you have to imagine that they could not get a gun anywhere else. adam lanza did not have a background check. he took the gun after murdering his mother. the long-term solution is addressing the question of how they are on the streets in the first place. laws were changed decades ago because they were sometimes abused, but i think we can move back to a more sensible position that strongly deals with the due process rights, but also get people off the streets.
it will cost money at the state level, but greatly saved in the long term through reduced incarceration costs for crimes. >> your testimony discussed the need for women to be able to defend themselves and their families. the law currently permits the lawful possession of semiautomatic rifles such as the ar-15. can you tell me why you believe a semiautomatic rifle such as the ar-15 has taught you as a weapon of self-defense? >> the guns are accurate. they are light and easy to hold and most importantly, their appearance. an assault weapon in the hand of a young woman defending her babies at her home becomes a
defense weapon. and a peace of mind that she has as she is facing multiple intruders into her home with her children screaming into the background, the peace of mind she has knowing that she has a scary looking gun that helps her to defend herself. if you banned these weapons, you are pretty women had a great -- you are putting women at a great disadvantage, more so than men. and these are not criminals. they are young women and they're not used to violent confrontation. i speak on behalf of millions of american women across the country who urge you to defend our second amendment right to
choose to defend ourselves. >> thank you. >> thank you for holding this hearing. i want to thank everybody for being here, even you, mr. lapierre. we tangoed, what was it, 18 years ago? you are looking pretty good [laughter] i would like to add something to the record. page 44 of the department of justice report of assault weapons as a percentage of gun traces. it shows a 70% decline from 1992-1993 through 2001-02. >> no objection. >> thank you. chief johnston, i would like to talk with you. i am very grateful for the
support of your organization, the major chiefs. as well as the trauma surgeons to see what these guns do in tearing apart bodies. i have become very concerned as i looked at the bill before in 1993, at the technological improvement in these weapons over these years. one of the things we have tried to do in this new bill is prevent that from happening in the future. in looking at the ar-15 magazine on a device, which is legal, called a slide fire, i note that with practice, a shooter may control his rate of fire from 400 rounds to 800 rounds per minute, or shoot two, three, or four rounds at a time and just as easily fire single shots.
it apparently is versatile. it is easy to use, but has tremendous velocity and tremendous killing power. i suspect, tears young bodies apart. and i suspect initially that the suspect's mother in new town gave this gun to her son. is that correct? >> these guns were accessible in the home of the shooter. it is a major problem, security of weapons. in my jurisdiction, two school shootings. safety and security of weapons would have made different in that case. senator i applaud you for
including the safety and security measure in your bill. >> thank you. this is such a hard debate. people how such fixed positions. police, i think, see killings as they are. many people do not. in a sense, the streets speak about this issue. these guns fall into the hands of the wrong people. it is my understanding that mrs. lanza's son, the shooter in this case, have no mental health record. is that correct? >> it is my understanding that no record exists. it is my understanding that there was ample evidence, though, amongst those close to him that there was a serious problem. >> which is something i think we
need to tackle today. mental health laws are usually the preserve of the state and local government. they provide the facilities. do you have any suggestions with respect to anything we might be able to do to improve mental health laws nationally, which might catch people who are a danger to themselves or others in this area? >> this is a major problem for law enforcement. citizens, police officers, doctors, parents can petition for an emergency evaluation when they see an individual is a danger to themselves or others. it is important that we all do this. it is a tough decision, but sometimes you have to make it against your own son. it can affect their entire life,
but it has to be done. the improvement and is to be made is that we can have this information entered instantly into a data system in the event that an individual tries to go out within 24 hours and get a gun. someone in wisconsin went into a salon to shoot his wife. he wanted a gun fast. he was caught, emotional, out of control. and he wanted to get it done fast. the way you do that is you reach out outside the established a background check requirements and acquire it. that gun could have been prevented from getting into the hands of a person who will carry that out in in high -- in a high emotional stage. this is really important. >> we have millions of big clips. the aurora shooter used a 100- round drum.
fortunately, it jammed, or it would have killed more people. i think people believe that we can have guards at schools. i am well aware that columbine there was a deputy sheriff who was armed, and actually took a shot, but could not hit the shooter there. the question comes, what do you do about the morals? -- malls? what do you do about the movie theaters? what do you do about businesses? we cannot have a totally armed society. that is my feeling, about the need to say there are certain categories of guns. we actually exempt over 2000 specific weapons by make and model name and then ran about 158 assault weapons and go to a one characteristic test. you have looked at this bill. do you believe it will be effective? >> yes, ma'am, i do. i believe that addressing all of
the issues holistic lead in the president's plan, as well as a comprehensive, universal background check procedure, banning high-capacity magazines, banning assault weapons, collectively together will create a system. the best way to stop a bad guy from getting a gun in the first place is a good background check. >> thank you. >> as senator grassley noted, senator hatch has to be gone. i will recognize him when he comes back. we will go in seniority. i will go to senator sessions. all members can put statements in the record by the close of business today.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. daud smith, the better part of our career, i guess, prosecuting cases as a u.s. attorney, and during that high -- i gave emphasis to the gun violations. we were one of the top prosecuting districts in the country. in the latest university of syracuse report, they list my district, the southern district of alabama as number one in the nation today in prosecutions of gun violations. this is what the university of syracuse study said, however, in its lead comment. weapons prosecution's declined to the lowest level in a decade the latest available data from the justice department shows that during january, 2011, the government reported 484 new weapons prosecutions.
this is the lowest level to which prosecutions federally have fallen since january, 2001, at the time that president bush assumed office. they go on to note some of the declines in various categories. first and foremost, i would say to you, as someone who has personally tried a lot of these cases before a jury, written appellate briefs on these cases, that these are the bread and butter criminal cases, felons in possession of a firearm, and carrying a firearm during a crime, both of which are serious offenses. carrying a firearm during a crime during violent or other serious crimes is a mandatory five-year sentence without parole. those prosecutions have declined, unfortunately, under president obama's presidency. does it concern you, chief, that federal prosecutions per month
in 2011 compared to those in 2010, the number of filings went down 7.9% and were down 28.8% from 2006 in federal court. does that concern you? >> i can tell you that in the baltimore police department -- >> i'm asking if those numbers concern you. >> no, because you are not including local prosecutions. i cannot stand here and tell you of a single case in baltimore county where a gun was involved that was not prosecuted. >> are we trying to pass a state or federal law today? it is a federal law we are trying to enforce. and with regard to the crimes of carrying a firearm during the
violence or drug trafficking offense, those prosecutions declined. 5%.5. i would say that, first, we need to make sure we are doing our job. i would also note that although crime is a very important matter, we should never lose our emphasis on bringing down crime. the murder rate in america today is half what it was in 1993. we have made progress on that. and we can continue to drive those numbers down. it is not as if we have an unusual surge in violent crime in america. with regard to background checks and straw purchases, let's be frank. straw purchases are a problem and should be prosecuted. i have prosecuted those cases
before on a number of occasions. i have prosecuted gun dealers who fail to keep records as required by the law. but the number of defendants charged under the 18usc926 regarding the lawfulness of a transfer have declined from 459 in 2004 to 218 in 2010. that is about a 52% decline under this administration is leadership. i would say to you, mathematically speaking, violence in america is impacted mostly when you are in forcing -- enforcing these bread and butter violations that are proven to work. i think everybody supports these strong laws.
that is where the rubber meets the road. that is where you really begin to impact crime. if you can intimidate -- and i believe the word is getting out. it did in our district. if you carry a gun in a crime, a drug dealing offense, you can be prosecuted in federal court, given five years in jail without parole. we saw a decline in the violence rate and the number of drug dealers and criminals carrying guns. but you have to prosecute those cases. mr. lapierre, it does appear that the straw purchase prohibition that is out there, that prohibition seems to me to be legitimate. and i support -- and you said you support the prosecutions of it. but if we expand the number of
people covered, and we do not have any prosecutions -- i believe you said there were only 44. that is the weakness in the system. >> senator, there needs to be a change in the culture of prosecution at the entire federal level. it is a disgrace. we could dramatically cut crimes with guns and save lives all over this country if we were to start enforcing the 9000 federal laws we have on the books. i'm talking about drug dealers with guns, gangs with guns, felons with guns. the numbers are shocking. in chicago, one of the worst areas in the country for a gun violence by criminals cannot -- for gun violence by criminals, it is 89 in 90. in the entire united states, 62 people prosecuted under all of the federal gun laws.
in the project to clean of richmond years ago, they did 350 cases in richmond. if you want to stop crime, interdict the violent criminals. get them off the street. >> richmond was a great model. i would call on president obama to call in the attorney general eric holder and ask him why the prosecutions have dropped dramatically across all categories of federal gun laws, and he should call in the u.s. attorney's and tell them to look at the numbers and get them up and emphasize these prosecutions. >> senator schumer. >> first, let me apologize to the witnesses. we have a finance committee meeting on reconciliation, which probably affects our police chief anyway, so i had to be there. i want to thank you, chairman
leahy, for organizing this important hearing. i want to thank the witnesses, particularly congresswoman giffords and your husband, mark kelly. by being here instead of cursing the darkness you are lighting a candle. thank you. i do believe that we have a chance to do something reasonable in the aftermath of the sandy hook tragedy. but when we discuss ways to stop violence, guns must be included in that discussion. i heard ranking member grassley say we must go beyond guns. that is true. but we must include guns as well not including guns when discussing mass killings is like not including cigarettes when discussing lung cancer. but the same time, i agree. we cannot play the usual somum
zero political game on guns, or tg the moment will pass us by. we cannot play the same zero sum game on guns, or the moment will pass us by. the american government will never take away america's guns. americans need not to accept this provision, but endorse it. you cannot argue for an expansive reading of amendments like the first, fourth, and faith, but see the second amendment to the panel of saying it only affects militias. at the same time, those on the pro-gun side must recognize that no amendment is absolute. the first amendment protects freedom of speech.
it is hollow. you still cannot falsely shouts fire in a crowded theater. the second amendment has sensible limits, too. my colleagues have offered a range of impressive and thoughtful proposals on the topic of gun violence. chairman leia he has introduced a bill on trafficking. senator feinstein has introduced one of assault weapons. for the last several years, my focus has been on gun ownership and background checks. universal background checks is a proven, effective step we can take to reduce gun violence. and i believe it has a good chance of passing. federally licensed firearms dealers have been required to conduct background checks on prospective gun purchasers since we passed the brady bill.
we have seen that they work. since 1999, the federal background check system has blocked 1.7 million prohibited purchasers from buying firearms at federally licensed dealers. yes, we should prosecute them. but the number one goal is to prevent a felon from getting a gun in the first place. that is what this did 1.7 million times. the current system works well. but there are some glaring holes. first, not all gun sales are covered by a background check. the problem, sometimes referred to as the gun show loophole companies that a private seller could set up a tent at a gun show or somewhere else and not have to conduct a background check on its purchasers. 48% of gun sales are made without a background check. you are a felon, a gun trafficker, a mentally ill person, you know you can go to a gun show and not have any checks. of course, that is what they do. this is not fair.
and also to dealers who follow the rules and conduct checks. why should someone going to a gun show have a different rules? there is no logic to it. i was the author of the brady bill, and that was something we were forced to put into the bill as a way to get the bill passed. but the last 15 years has proven it does not make sense. the second problem with the current system is that not all records are fed into the system. this is especially true with mental health records. 19 states have submitted to fewer than 100 mental health records to nix. i think we can get bipartisan agreement on a bill that solves these two problems by doing two things print one, it will prevent felons and the mentally ill from getting guns by requiring a background check before all purchases, and two, i will get relevant records into
the system. right now as we meet here today, i'm having productive conversations with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, including a good number with high nra ratings. and i'm hopeful that we are close to having legislation we can introduce. and i would urge the nra, mr. lapierre, and other gun advocacy groups to work with us on this proposal. the nra supported of our 2007 legislation that improved the background check system. i hoping they will try to do that again. it is a simple, straightforward solution, one the american people support. a recent survey by the new england journal of medicine found 90% of republicans, 74% of nra members support requiring background checks for all gun sales. i understand that because we have not introduced it i cannot ask the witness is about it. but i can tell you what it will not do.
it will not create a gun registry. that is already illegal and is repeatedly illegal in our law. and it will not allow you to bar your relatives hunting rifle or share a gun at a gun range. it will include a reasonable exceptions to background checks for bonafide sales and transfers. checks and sales are a tactic. do you agree with the logic that we should prosecute people who illegally tried to buy guns? but even without that, the law has done a lot of good because people who are felons or adjudicated mentally ill, millions have been stopped from buying guns and getting guidance. -- getting tguns. >> since 1994 through 2009, the record is clear. it is a fact that nearly 2 million prohibited purchases were stopped. and god only knows what they would have done with those weapons had not been for that
particular law. >> we want to do both, but wouldn't we rather stop them from having a gun than after they should someone or buy a gun illegally, then arrest them and put them in jail? >> yes, sir. and you how to address the pathology of how you get the gun in the first place. that is what we are trying to achieve by universal background check. i am proud to stand before you this morning to let you know that every member of our organization supports background checks. the >> and does it make any sense to exclude the same people who sell them in a gun shop, or others to go to a gun show and not have a background check of all? >> it is insane. it is like letting 40% of the people just passed the tsa checkpoint at an airport. it is not an inconvenience.
the record shows that nearly 92% of the individuals that tried to do begun background check out a gun shop, in a minute and a half, they are done. i cannot write a citation in a minute and a half. even with technology i cannot do it that fast. it is not inconvenient. and it is unfair to a shop owner, too. why impose more restrictions on a federally licensed dealer down on anyone else? and if you can sell a gun to your neighbor that you have known for 10 years, you do not know your neighbor. the only way to make sure that what you're doing is safe is a comprehensive background check. >> one final question. many police officers are avid sportsman. they enjoy shooting not in their professional official duties. the majority of gun owners, surveys show, are for gun back -- background checks.
>> my experience shows that every member of the nra supports a dock project. i loved to hunt. i own several guns. i love going to the range with my son who is a police officer today. >> senator gramm has graciously let senator cornyn go. please, senator cornyn. >> thank you all the witnesses for being here today. particularly to congresswoman giffords for being here and speaking so forcefully. i hope this serves as a starting point for us to consider a range of ideas on this topic. anything that falls short of serious examination and discussion is window dressing. it is just symbolism over substance.
i have a hard time telling my constituents in taxes that -- in texas that congress is looking at passing a raft of new laws when the laws we currently have on the books are so not enforced. i think we need to do what we can to address the shortcomings in mental health care, as well as background checks mechanisms we used to screen out prohibited gun buyers. we need to ask what the years of the institutionalization of the mentally ill have done for the safety of the american public. we need to ask about people who are subjected to a court order to outpatient mental health treatment. tens of millions are falling to the cracks and surely, we can agree that more needs to be done to enforce existing gun law.
the gun prosecutions are down across the board. mr. chairman, i hope we will have a follow-up hearing to ask administration witnesses to come before the panel and testify why agencies of government are not enforcing laws that congress has already passed. it is worth noting that five years ago, congress was asking the same questions we are asking right now. in 2008, there was an attempt made to strengthen the background check clause following the murders of virginia tech prepared -- the background check laws following the murders at virginia tech. did those laws work? just last july, it was given mixed reviews. only a handful of states have taken seriously the responsibility to share mental health records.
and i'm pleased that texas has been highlighted by the gao has outperforming other states in this area, but we have a long way to go. i think there are areas where we can come together right now, examine the nexus between gun crime, violence, and mental health care. i'm willing to listen to serious ideas, not just window dressing, to come up with solutions. capt. kelly, i noticed in your testimony you alluded to part of what i talked about, which is the fact that at the time in arizona their 121,000 records of disqualifying mental illness for people in arizona who had not been subjected to background checks because the state had not send that information to the federal government. could you expand on the significance? >> in the case of jared loughner, a person who shot my wife and murdered six of her constituents, he was clearly mentally ill.
he was expelled from the local community college because of that. his parents and his school did not send him anywhere to be adjudicated or evaluated with regard to his mental illness. mr. lapierre earlier tried to make the point that criminals do not submit to the background checks. jared loughner, the tucson shooter, was an admitted drug user. he was rejected from the u.s. army because of his drug use. he was clearly mentally ill. and when he purchased the gun in november, his plan was to assassinate my wife and commit mass murder at that safeway in tucson. he was a criminal. because of his drug use and because of what he was planning on doing. but because of these gaps in the mental health system -- now, in this case, the 121,000 records, i admit, did not
include a record on him. but it could have. and if it did, he would have failed that background check. obviously, in this case, he would have likely have gone to a gun show or a private seller and avoided a background check. but if we close the gun show loophole, if we require private sellers to complete a background check and we get those 121,000 records and others into the system, we will prevent gun crimes. that is an absolute truth. it would have happened in tucson. my wife would not be sitting in this seat. she would not have been sitting here today if we had a strong background checks. >> mr. lapierre, you talk about a laws already on the books the fact that the federal government has a poor record of enforcing laws. i fail to see out that the justice department will not in force will make the world any
safer. from 2007-11, the department of justice charged 13% fewer total firearms cases. in each of the years during that span, the current administration's brought fewer firearms prosecution's than the year before. in january, 2011, only 484 prosecutions were initiated by the department of justice, the fewest number of prosecutions in 10 years. as far as 2006-10, the number of investigations for unlawful possession decrease 26%. during the same time friend, 76% fewer cases were referred to tabc for prosecution. of the cases the fbi referred for prosecution, just 13 cases
were prosecuted. would you care to comment? >> in the shadow of everyone's noses of this building, right now, there are drug dealers and violating the law. there is all kinds of drugs being sold, trafficking young girls. and it goes on day after day. we've got to interdict these people, get them off the street before they get to the next crime scene. the fact is, the nra has been trying for 20 something years. the senator schumer went back and forth with me on "face the nation" where i asked if he would help get the mentally incompetent adjudicated and into the system.
he said yes, but they are still not in the system. my point is, even if you turn out someone on the instant check, it is a mentally ill person " for a felon, as long as you are -- a mentally ill person or a felon, as long as you let them go, you are keeping them from getting a gun. the problem with gun laws, criminals do not cooperate with them. the mentally ill do not cooperate with them. you've got to interdict, incarcerate, get them in treatment, and do things that matter. you have police officers in schools, armed security in schools. but let's do the things that work. let's get serious about this. this discussion, i sit here and listen to it and my reaction is that have little to do with making the country safe and has much to do with the decades-long gun ban agenda.
we do not even enforce the laws when they are on the books. the attorney general of the united states, eric holder, during the richmond program, he called it a cookie cutter approach to solving crime. he did not have a lot of enthusiasm about it. i remember senator sessions held a hearing. the department of justice said that a drug dealer with a gun is a guppy and we cannot concentrate on guppies. those guppies are what are ruining neighborhoods, destroying lives, and killing people. we've got to confront their behavior and take them off the street. they do not obey by all the laws that we have now. we've got to get real with what works and does not. my problem with background checks is that you are never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks. and of the law-abiding people, you will create an enormous
federal bureaucracy, unfunded, and people have to pay the fees, pay the taxes. we do not even prosecute anybody right now that goes through the system we have. we will make all of those law- abiding people go through the system and then we will not prosecute any of the bad guys if they do catch one. none of it makes any sense in the real world. we have 80,000 police families in the nra. and we care about safety. we want what works. >> i'm trying to be fair to everybody here. certainly, you have more chances to speak. >> that is the point. the criminals will not go to purchase the guns because there'll be a background check. it will stop them from original purchase. you missed that point completely. it is basic. [applause] >> senator, i think you missed
the point. >> there will be order. [gavel] there will be order in the committee room. >> i'm going to give you a chance. but let me say at the outset, captain kelly, thank you. thank you for bringing that wonderful, brave wife of yours today to remind us what victims suffer from buy and -- from gun violence. what a heroic figure she is and what a pillar you are to stand by her during her rehabilitation. we are so proud of her and of view. and i say with some regret, there should have been a hearing just like this right after your wife, one of our own, a member of congress was shot point-blank in the face at a town meeting in tucson, arizona.
i hope you will extend to her our best wishes, love, and support for what she is doing today and what she has meant to all of us for this long period of time. i also want to say a word about an incident. there was a young lady from chicago, illinois, 15 years old. she attended a university prep school in chicago, an honor student, and she marched in the inaugural parade last week. i can point to one gun store, one store in illinois that accounts for more than 20% of the crimes in chicago. straw purchasers buy the gun there and they end up in the
hands of criminals in the city of chicago. almost one out of 10 guns in chicago came to the city from mississippi. mississippi. why? the background checks there, the gun dealers there, or a lot easier than in other places. they ended up selling these guns and corrupting interstate fields on the way. here's the basics. i think we all agree and i hope we all agree that the supreme court decision said that we can
have reasonable limitation on the second amendment right and terms of the type of weapon and the people who own them and the background checks on those people. it is something that we desperately need to do. we know that 40% of the sales are not going through the background checks. that is a huge problem. it has created an abundance of weapons that are available. in the straw purchases, i salute the chairman for addressing this issue. it is one of the worst situations in our estate and in the city of chicago. i can point to one gun store in illinois that accounts for more than 20% of the crime guns in chicago. straw purchasers buy the gun there and they end up in the hands of criminals in the city of chicago. we have to put an end to this. i'm going to ask a question to the panelists. mr. lapierre, i ran into some of
your members in illinois and they tell me, you do not get the second amendment. it is not just about hunting. it is not just about sports. it is not just about shooting targets. it is not just about defending ourselves from criminals, as ms. trotter testified. we need the ability to protect ourselves from our governments. from our government, from the police, if they knock on our doors and we need to fight back. do you agree with that point of view? >> if you look at what our founding fathers put down there, they had lived under the tyranny of king george and wanted to make sure these free people in this new country would never be subjugated again and live under tyranny. i also think that what people all over the country fear today is being abandoned by their government, if a tornado hits, if a hurricane hits, if a riot occurs. then they will be out there alone. the only way they will protect themselves in the cold and dark,
when they are vulnerable, is with a fire arm. that indicates how relevant and essential the second amendment is in today's society to fundamental human survival. >> chief johnson, you have heard it. some believe that citizens have to have the firepower to fight back against you. against the government. how do you conduct your business in enforcing the law, not knowing what is behind that door? >> i find it to be very scary, creepy, simply just not based on logic. certainly, law enforcement across the nation is well prepared to deal with any natural or man-made disaster that would occur. frankly, -- i cannot relate to that kind of thinking. >> i cannot either. and i cannot think about the need of that man in colorado having 100 cartridges.
professor koppel, do you think that it is necessary for hunting, sports, target practice, even self defense? >> it would be not legal for hunting in most states where there are limits on how many rounds you can have in a magazine. as i think you have recognized, the second amendment is not primarily about hunting. what i have been talking about is what the supreme court said in the district of columbia versus heller, which is the second amendment, the firearms and their accessories which are commonly owned by law-abiding people for legitimate purposes. i am talking about what police officers carry, what citizens carry, semi-automatic handguns. >> but those are police officers. >> they are not military, they're not coming to attack
people, they are protecting people. citizens protect themselves the same way the police officers do. >> if you can rationalize a 100- round drum that someone can strap onto a semi-automatic weapon, as did in aurora, colorado, killing dozens of people there, saving lives only because it jammed, then you ought to object to the laws that have been on the books for years about machine guns. why are they not allowed under the second amendment? >> according to heller, they are not commonly used by law-abiding citizens for legitimate purposes. >> and 100 magazines are? >> you are the one who wants to talk about 100 magazines. thank goodness he had a piece of junk like that instead of something better where he could kill more people. >> that is what is all about?
>> it is about saving lives with ordinary magazines. 100 magazines are not used by police officers or hunters. what you are talking about banning is normal magazines. >> the shooter in tucson showed up with two 33-round magazines, one of which was in his 9 millimeter. he unloaded the contents of that magazine in 15 seconds. very quickly. the first bullet went into gabby's head. bullet #13 went into a nine-year old girl named christina taylor green. she deserved a full life committed to enhancing those ideas. if he had a 10-round magazine -- let me back up. when he tried to reload one 33- round magazine with another, he dropped it. a woman named patricia grabbed
it, and it gave bystanders time to tackle him. i contend, if that same thing happened when he was trying to reload one 10-round magazine with another, meaning he did not have access to a high- capacity magazine, and the same thing happened, christina taylor green would be alive today. i am certainly willing to give up my right on a high-capacity magazine to bring that young woman back, that young girl. let me continue with what happened that day. in that 15 seconds -- actually, in the first shot, one man ran out of walgreen's, a man with a gun, with the intent to do the right thing, an armed citizen. he admits he came within about a half second of shooting the man who tackled jared loughner, nearly killing him.
we almost had this horrific mass murder followed up by an horrific accident. the horrific mass murder because of the high-capacity magazine and the horrific accident because of the armed person there who, with good intentions, wanted to end the something that was going really bad. >> senator graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think i am speaking for a lot of people when we say we are heartbroken when a family member is taken through an act of gun violence, whether it be a child or anyone else, but particularly children. that is a heartbreaking episode in society. i think most people would appreciate the fact that there
are thousands, if not millions of americans, that save their families from home invasions or violent assault because they had a gun to protect themselves. most of us are glad it ended well for you. those are the two bookends. you mentioned, captain kelly, and i appreciate you being here, appreciate your comments about you and your wife being reasonable people. i do not doubt that one bit. the question is, am i an unreasonable american if i oppose this bill? am i an unreasonable american to believe the constitution says guns commonly used by the population for legitimate purposes? i do not want to own a gun to attack my government. that is not what i think a legitimate purpose is. let's talk about a real world incident that happened in loganville, georgia in january 2012. one bullet in the hands of a mentally ill person or a convicted felon is one too many.
six bullets in the hands of a mother protecting her twin 9 year-olds may not be enough. so i have a chart here. at the top is the 38 revolver. on the right is a 9 millimeter pistol. that holds 15 rounds. does everyone on the panel agree that a convicted felon should not have either one of those guns? does everybody agree that a mentally unstable person should not have either one of those pistols? ok, common ground there. put yourself in the shoes of the mother. a guy broke into the home, she ran upstairs, hid in the closet, she got on the phone with police, and she was talking with her husband in real time. the intruder broke into the home, had a crowbar, and found them in a closet.
they were confronted face-to- face. according to reports, her husband said shoot. she emptied the gun, six shot revolver. the guy was hit five of the six times. he was able to still get up and drive away. my question is, put your family members in that situation. would i be a reasonable american to what my family to have the 15-round magazine and a semi- automatic weapon to make sure, if there are two intruders, she does not run out of bullets? and i am on reasonable person for saying in that situation the 15-round magazine makes sense? well, i will say that i do not
believe i am. i will give you an example of where a 15-round magazine could make the difference between protecting a family if there is more than one attacker. back to your point, capt. kelly, and the situation you described, i do not want that person to have one goal of oregon. the point of regulating magazines is to interrupt the shooter. i guess what i am saying is we live in a role where there are 4 million high-capacity magazines out there or more. the best way to interrupt the shooter, if they come to a school house, is not to deny the moment an atlanta and the ability to have more than 10 rounds, but to have somebody like you, chief johnson, meet them when they come to the door. that is the best way to do it. my good friend joe biden, who i have spirited conversations about a lot of things, was talking to somebody in california who mentioned the fact, what if there is an earthquake out here and there is a lawless situation? in 1992, you had the riots in
los angeles. you could find yourself in a lawless environment in this country. the story was about a place called koreatown. there are marauding gangs going through the area burning stores, looting and robbing. the vice-president said in response to me, he said, no, you would be better off with a 12 gauge shotgun. that is his opinion, and i respect it. i have an ar-15 at home and i have not hurt anybody and i do not intend to, but i would be better off protecting my family if there was law-and-order breakdown in my neighborhood. i do not think that makes me an unreasonable person.
mr. trotter when you say you speak on behalf of millions of women out there who believe an ar-15 makes them safer, there were a lot of giggles in the room, and that explains the dilemma. the people who were giggling were saying to you, that is crazy. nobody i know thinks that way. which reminds me of the harvard professor who said i cannot believe mcgovern lost. everyone i knew voted for him. i bet there are people on our side that cannot believe obama won because everyone they know voted against him. the point is, we have different perspectives on this. the reason i will oppose the legislation, chief johnston, is because i respect what you do as a law-enforcement officer. has your budget been cut? >> yes. >> will it be cut in the future? >> i am optimistic that it is not. >> because of the fiscal state of affairs we have, there will be less police officers, not more, over the next decade.
response time will be more, not less. so, mr. kelly, i really do want to get guns out of the hands of the wrong people. i honest to god believe that if we arbitrarily say nobody in this country can own a 10-round magazine in the future, there could be a situation where a mother runs out of bullets because of something we do here. i cannot prevent every bad outcome, but i do know and believe in the bottom of my heart that i am not an unreasonable person by saying that in some circumstances the 15-round makes sense and in other situations the ar-15 makes sense.
do you agree with that? >> i think if we follow senator schumer's approach and follow the supreme court decision, what that tells you is the core of the second amendment is the firearms and accessories that are commonly owned by law- abiding people for legitimate purposes. >> is it constitutional to say 10 vs 15? >> 10 is plainly unconstitutional. magazines of up to 19 are common on semiautomatic handguns.
>> i do not know if 10 vs 19 is common or uncommon. i do know that 10 versus 19 in the hands of the wrong person is a complete disaster. i do know that six bullets in that hands of a woman trying to defend her children may not be enough. so i do not look at it from some academic debate. let's agree on one thing. one bullet in the hands of the wrong person we should all try to prevent. but when you start trying to tell me that i am unreasonable for wanting that woman to have more than six bullets or to have an ar-15 for people running around my neighborhood, i reject the concept. >> thank you, senator. senator whitehouse. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
i have heard testimony in this hearing that the federal gun crime prosecutions number, 62 a year, and that "we do not prosecute any." i was surprised to hear that testimony because i was a united states attorney. in my time, it became a priority to prosecute fire arms. i went to every police department in my state to talk about what we could do with gun criminals. we set up a special procedure where the attorney general's office, which has criminal jurisdiction in rhode island, view the gun crimes together to make sure they were sent to the place where they could get the most effective treatment. i believe that continues, although i am no longer a u.s. attorney. i pulled up some quick statistics. according to the executive office of united states
attorneys, in 2012, more than 11,700 defendants were charged with federal gun crimes, which is a lot more than not doing it, a lot more than 62. the numbers are up at the department of justice since 2001, by more than 3000 prosecutions. we may have a debate about whether more should be done and who at the witness table actually wants more to be done in the way of gun prosecutions, but to pretend the number is in double digits or zero is flagrantly wrong and inconsistent with the type of testimony that senators should rely on in a situation like this. i should also mention, repeated
testimony from senator durbin that criminals will not subject themselves to a background check. that is that the point. criminals do not subject themselves to a background check, so they do not go into the gun shops. if they do, they are prevented from buying a gun. instead, they go primarily to the main way we distribute guns without a background check, which is to the gun shows. to the extent we can expand the background check, the fact that criminals will not subject themselves to a background check provides the kind of prevention that senator graham was talking about, to keep guns out of the hands of criminals in the very first case. chief johnson, tell me a little bit about the men and women with whom you serve in law enforcement and the type of training and screening that is
important in both gun use, gun safety, and situational awareness, before they are put in a position where there are expected to defend the public with firearms. do you just give somebody a gun and say, get in there and defend the community? how rigorous, how cautious are you about training required? >> the process starts well before we even offer you a badge. it is a very robust, in depth, psychological review of whether or not we will allow you to enter the force itself.
all departments are universal on this issue. it includes psychological, polygraph, and other means to determine whether or not you have the fiber to have the awesome responsibility to carry a gun. the training is exhaustive. weeks and weeks of training for how to use the weapon, tactically how to deal with it, how to care for it, how to safeguard that weapon. but it does not stop there. once you're in the field, robust psychological services section, yearly training. this talk about teachers having guns -- >> before we go to teachers, to your knowledge, does the military have similar types of concerns and programs with respect to our men and women who serve in our armed forces? >> talking with my associates in the military, it is my understanding that public policing mirrors much of what
the military does. >> against that background, how much sense does it make to have our armed line of defense be teachers? >> does the teacher have the nerve fiber to carry that weapon, and the responsibility? you are an educator. you dedicated your life to that pursuit, but you have a side arm strapped to yourself? and you better have it at all times because if you put it in your desk drawer, your purse, briefcase -- let me tell you something, carrying this weapon by my side has been a pain all my years. i am glad i have it if i need it, but it is an awesome responsibility. what do you do in the summertime when you dress down? how will you safeguard the weapon from a classroom of 16- year-old boys who want to touch it? certainly -- holsters. i am spending $200 apiece for these. these are all factors.
we all face catastrophic changes in our lives as we go through divorce, other things that bring us down. but you need people to step in, like we have been policing, to notice those things and deal with them. this is a major issue. >> we have had cases in which trained police officers who were off-duty responded to a situation. because they had not been adequately trained in how to respond off-duty, because there were out of uniform, that lead to tragic blue on blue events. presumably, that would have a bearing on officers, a situation where teachers were trying to defend their school. >> two years ago in baltimore city, an on-duty officer in plainclothes was shot by uniformed on duty personnel, and they were on the same shift. it was just in the darkness of the night.
as captain kelly has pointed out, that was a major issue in the tucson shooting. >> sarah mckinley, in defending her home, used a remington 12 gauge shotgun that would not be banned under the statute, correct? >> i do not remember what type of weapon she used. >> that is what kind of weapon it was and it would not be banned under the statute. it proves the point that ordinary firearms, not 100 magazines, peculiar types of artifacts -- people are quite capable of defending themselves. >> i respectfully disagree. i understand you are also a graduate from the university of virginia school of law and you were close to monticello where thomas jefferson and our declaration of independence and close by montpelier where james madison was instrumental in drafting the bill of rights.
i think you can understand that, as a woman, it is very important not to place undue burdens on our second amendment right to choose to defend ourselves. i do not know what weapon she used -- >> my point is, the example you used is one that would not dare an argument against the proposal that is before us, because that remington express is a weapon that would be perfectly allowed. >> would it have been unreasonable for her to use a different gun to protect her child? >> i think if she was using a 100 -- let me put it another way. she would clearly have an adequate ability to protect her family without the need for a 100-round piece. >> how can you say that? you are a large man. you are -- tall. you are not a young mother who
has a young child with her. i am passionate about this position because you cannot understand, you are not a woman stuck in her house, having to defend her children, not able to leave her child, not able to seek safety, on the phone with 911, and she cannot get the police there fast enough to protect her child, and she is not used to being in a fire fight. >> my point is that she did it adequately and safely with lawful firearms and without the firepower that was brought to bear so that the 14th shot could be fired by a man -- >> we will have to come back to this. there are a number of things
that i could say but i will go to senator lee. >> i want to thank each of the members of the panel for enduring two hours of this hearing. as a more junior member of the committee who sometimes gets to ask questions last, i am appreciative of your willingness to stay this long. i think every one of us in this room and watching on television has been horrified by the incidents that occurred in newtown, tucson, and elsewhere. i do not think there is one of us that would not like us to find a way, as a society, to put an end to events like this. it would be my preference if we could find a way to put an end to events like this without doing violence to the constitution and also without leaving law-abiding citizens more vulnerable to crime. there are a number of statistics on this. one statistic i read indicated about 2.5 million times a year
in america a gun is used to protect its possessor from a crime. that is quite significant, a fact we need to take into account. there has been a lot of reference today to the fact that the protections of the constitution, protection of the second amendment right to bear arms, are not unlimited. i agree there are limits. it is important for us to focus on what those limits are. the supreme court, in district of columbia versus heller, held that the guns that are within the zone of protection of the second amendment are those that are typically possessed by law- abiding citizens for lawful purposes. let's start with you, professor kopel. can you tell me, is a semi- automatic weapon, whether a rifle or handgun, that holds more than 10 rounds in its ammunition magazine, one that could be fairly characterized as one typically possessed by law- abiding citizen for lawful purposes? >> in handguns, some
automatics, 81% of handguns sold. a very large percentage of those have as standard -- not high capacity -- magazines between 11 magazine 19 rounds. another thing that is common, to get back to the issue about the remington shotgun, senator feinstein's bill would outlaw that shotgun if it has a seven- round magazine on it. it comes with a five-round magazine. you can extend it. the bill would outlaw that standard home defense shotgun, if it had a seven-round magazine. it is all fine to talk about
novelty items on the fringe, like 100-round drums, but at practice, what does the threat of being a law, when people are using standard capacity handgun magazines and standard capacities for rifles and shotguns. >> what are the law-abiding citizens doing with these? what are the lawful purposes to which law-abiding citizens are using these guns? >> self-defense, target shooting, all of which are purposes lawful for having a firearm. and in regards to the extra training the police officers have. i represented the two police training organizations in the supreme court and i would certainly agree that the police have more training for all kinds of reasons, including having the power to effectuate arrests, which ordinary citizens do not. in the view of the training organizations, they believe the training that is required in most states to obtain a permit to carry a handgun for lawful protection of self.
only nine states currently violate that by not letting trained citizens carry. that is appropriate for you, to defend themselves. not necessarily do arrests, but defend themselves. that includes defending themselves in their place of employment, even if it happens to be a school. >> one of the arguments i have heard for making this type of weapon illegal, using a weapon with more than 10 rounds, weapons like these are available on a widespread basis. it is relatively easy to buy them, in the sense that most people may lawfully buy them and own them. and that is used as an argument in favor of restricting access to these weapons. in your opinion, does that make it more or less constitutionally permissible to restrict their sales?
>> you have hit on what district of columbia versus heller was all about. how often are 100-round draw magazines used in crimes? pretty rarely. self-defense? pretty rarely, too. 70% of gun homicides are from handguns. the supreme court said that the fact these are frequently used in crimes does not mean that under the constitution you can prohibit them. the fact and you can point to any particular crime where a gun was misused, that approval to ban this gun or the accessories, that is the opposite of what the supreme court is saying. you do not look only at the misuse of an arm or accessory, you look at its lawful use. does it have common, lawful use. yes, handguns have common, lawful use. handgun magazines have common, lawful use.
yes, the ar-15 rifle, the best selling rifle in this country for years, has pervasive lawful use. >> if we restrict access to these guns, we are limiting the ability of individual americans, law-abiding americans, to use them for lawful purposes? >> criminals may misuse something, but that does not constitute sufficient reason to prevent law-abiding citizens from using a commonly used firearm. >> ms. trotter, do most of the gun-owning women that you know have an inclination to abide by the law in connection with a gun ownership? >> definitely. >> if we were to ban all weapons that contained an ammunition magazine capable of accommodating more than 10 rounds, would most female gun
owners abide by that law? >> of course. >> what about criminals, those who use weapons like these in connection with crimes? are they as likely to abide by that law? >> by definition, criminals do not abide by the law. >> women you know, that you represent, described, what kind of position does this put them in relative to their current position, as their ability to defend themselves? >> it disarms the women, puts them at a severe disadvantage and not only affects them, but anybody they are responsible for, their children, elderly relatives, incapacitated family members. >> i see my time has expired. i have one question for mr. johnson. mr. johnson, according to fbi statistics, about 72% of the gun homicides committed each year in america are committed with handguns. 4% with rifles, 4% with
shotguns, 1% with other firearms, and 18% unknown. 72% classified as handguns. if 72% of gun homicides are being committed with handguns, would that suggest that you prefer banning handguns as well? >> there are no discussions of banning handguns or restricting handguns from women or any other group. i do not want to give up my hand guns. we are here today to talk about a universal background check that would help make our nation safer and limit high-capacity magazines. they are used in crimes and violence across america. >> even though far more people die each year from handgun- inflicted injury than assault weapon-inflicted injuries.
>> we believe the limit on high- capacity magazines, even in handguns, is necessary. no more than 10. >> thank you. first i want to acknowledge of the family members out here who have lost loved ones in shootings. i especially want to acknowledge you, maya, who lost her father. i was also listening to all of the statistics here which was important. i am a former prosecutor, i believe in evidence. the statistic i will never forget is the one from newtown, conn. shared with me by a relative of one of the young victims. charlotte bacon loved her girls got troop. her girl scout troop once had 10 girls and now there are only
five left. we have to remember what this is all about as we look at solutions. as a former prosecutor, i have always believed in enforcing the laws on the books. mr. lapierre, i made it a major focus of our office to prosecute the possession of guns. it is clearly part of the solution. you can not lessen the importance of that as we go forward. there are other things as well, including the recommendations that have been made by vice president biden and the task force. it is very important that we explore those in addition to enforcing the laws on the books. i have heard from republican sheriffs from all over the state that there are major issues with background checks. i would turn to that first, chief johnson.
we had a guy in minnesota that just came out in the papers. he killed his parents, he got out, somehow got a permit, was able to obtain guns. when they found him, he had 13 guns in his house, and he had a note that he had written to the gunman in newtown and said, i think about killing all the time. he was able to get a permit and get those guns. this just came out in our local paper. what do you see as some of the biggest loopholes? we talk about gun shows, internet, private sales, and how you think that could help? and then how do you think you can get background checks done quickly? i am from a hunting estate. the last thing i want to do is hurt my uncle and his hunting. >> there has been great improvement in the nation. it is good but it is not good enough.
we are failing miserably, nationally, entering that data. statistics i have read indicate nearly 18 states across the nation submit less than 100 records to the nics system on a regular basis. we have to improve, maryland has to improve. we are not doing enough in maryland. >> is it true that 40% of gun sales take place at gun shows? >> that is correct. and other non-licensed dealer sale arrangements. 6.6 million guns through that process a year. >> are more people now using the internet to buy guns? >> i was with my squad before coming here today. they regularly use the internet, penny savers, classified ads. they will go outside the state in many cases.
there are a variety of methods. including straw purchasers. >> you talked about how quickly the background checks can be done, compared to issuing a ticket. >> the analysis we have conducted, information i have, i believe it is 92% of nics background checks comeback within a minute and half at a licensed dealer. certainly, that is much quicker than i can write a citation. that should be universal. that is what we're calling for. that will make our nation safer. >> mr. lapierre, would you like to respond on the timing of the checks? >> no. 1, the chief is talking about using the internet to do interstate sales. that is a federal crime and should be prosecuted. the only way you can do a sale is having to go through a dealer and then would have to be cleared through a check.
the senator from rhode island talked about the prosecution data. i get that from the syracuse university data, which is who tracks the prosecution of the federal gun laws where that is the initial charge. my project is what they started to do in richmond. they caught a drug dealer with a gun. they put signs of all over the city, if you have an illegal gun, you will be prosecuted. drug dealers, gangs, felons stopped carrying guns. so this 62 number was for chicago alone. >> i know you want to discuss the statistics with senator whitehouse but i have my own questions. >> gun shows right now,
according to all the surveys, are not a source of crime guns. 1.7%. criminals are getting guns on the black market, stealing them, they are not getting them through gun shows. if you are talking about expanding a system that is already overloaded, where they are not doing basically any prosecutions -- it is like bonnie and clyde. they catch one but cannot do anything so they let them go. if you are thinking about expanding that thinking to every hunter, every relative all over the united states, when the system cannot handle what it has, you are creating enormous federal bureaucracy. it will only hit the law- abiding people, not criminals. honest people will be entrapped into committing crimes they had no intention of committing. it is an unworkable universal federal nightmare bureaucracy being imposed by the federal government. i do not think these law-abiding people --
>> it is my understanding that when people buy guns they undergo a background check. we are simply trying to close some of these loopholes. chief, would you like to respond? >> certainly, when a weapon is licensed to a dealer, they undergo a check. but 40% of these guns are being sold out of that process. this is not unreasonable. if i buy a gun next year, through a private seller, i will go to a licensed dealer to do it. >> mr. kelly, you said it best when you talked about your belief in the second amendment. with those rights comes responsibility. you talked about responsibility to make sure that these guns to not get into the hands of criminals, terrorists, those with mental illness. do you see the background check as a way to get at this problem?
>> gabby and i are both responsible gun owners. i bought a hunting rifle from wal-mart a couple of months ago. i went through a background check, did not take long. they were able to clearly determine that i was a responsible person. in tucson and in many of these cases, there are people that would have failed a background check if the right data was in the system, like in the case of jared loughner. in that case, he would have had the option to go to a gun show or private seller. i imagine he would have gotten a weapon. he was a pretty marginalized person, and mentally ill. he did not have much of a community around him. i imagine, in that case, if he would have not been able to pass a background check, if there was a universal background check, i do not see him going on the black market to get a gun. maybe if he did, maybe it would have taken him a long time to do
that, to find the right place to go. maybe in the period of time -- just maybe -- his parents would have got him on treatment, medication. if they did, from what his attorneys and prosecutors have told me, he would have never done what he did on that day. so you might not be able to prevent every single criminal from getting a weapon, but a universal background check is a common-sense thing to do. if we do them for federal, licensed dealers, why can't we do it at the gun shows and for private sale? >> thank you. as i was listening, i was thinking about all those people in the room who have those maybes. we have to do better with background checks, the number of proposals out there provided by the vice-president commission.
we can do better. >> thank you. i welcome one of the three new members of the committee, senator cruz of texas. you have the floor. i apologize. the allergies have caused my voice to be so bad. >> it is a pleasure to serve with you and members of this committee. i want to begin by thanking the members of the panel who have come here today. thank you for the time. in particular, capt. kelly, thank you for your service to this country and for your wife's extraordinary journey. congresswoman giffords has been lifted in prayer by millions of americans. please know that your family will continue to be in our
prayers for years to come. my wife and i have two little girls. they are four and two. no parent -- in particular, no parent of young children -- could watch what happened in newtown without being utterly horrified -- utterly horrified at the depravity of a deranged criminal who would senselessly murder 20 young children at an elementary school. unfortunately, in washington, emotion often leads to bad policies. when a tragedy occurs, often, this body rushes to act. at times, it seems the consideration of this body operates in a fact-free zone. i will suggest a philosophy that i think should guide this
body in assessing gun violence, and then i would like to highlight and ask you questions on a few points that are salient to addressing this issue. the philosophy i would suggest makes sense is that we should be vigorous and unrelenting in working to prevent, deter, and punish violent criminals. i have spent a substantial portion of my professional life in law-enforcement. the tragedyies inflicted on innocent americans every day by criminals are heartbreaking and we need to do more to prevent them. at the same time, i think we
should remain vigilant in protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. far too often, the approaches that have been suggested by this congress to the issue of gun violence restricts the liberties of law-abiding citizens, rather than targeting a violent criminals we should be targeting. i would point out, i hope some of the passion we have seen from members of this committee, with respect to the need to prevent violent crimes, will be reflected equally should we find ourselves in a judicial confirmation hearing with a judicial nominee who has a record of abusing the exclusionary rule to exclude evidence that results in a violent criminal walking free and being able to commit yet another crime. i hope we see exactly the same passion devoted to assessing whether judicial nominees will enforce our criminal laws and not frustrate the administration of justice. three points i think are particularly salient. the first is, in my judgment, the proposed assault weapons ban is a singularly ineffective piece of legislation.
i was having a conversation recently with a loved one in my family who asked a very reasonable question. she said, why do regular people in the machine guns? one of the things that happened in this debate -- the phrase assault weapons ban gets people concerned. much like the phrase military- style weapons. we are talking about citizens walking around with m-16's and fully automatic machine guns. fully automatic machine guns are already functionally illegal. ordinary citizens cannot own them, absent very heavy regulation. this entire discussion does not concern machine guns, and yet, i would venture to say a large percentage of americans do not understand that. i want to begin by talking about the assault weapons ban as it
was enforced before. i would ask for slide #1. the assault weapons ban that used to be in effect, according to the department of justice, "fails to reduce average number of victims per gun murder incident or multiple gunshot wound victims." that is the assessment of the united states department of justice. that is 1994. that was beginning in the department of justice under president clinton who said the assault weapons ban was singularly ineffective. second slide. the department of justice, likewise, concluded the assault weapons ban "under it, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence." so the reaction of this tragedy in newtown is, for a lot of the elected officials, to rush to reenact a law that according to the department of justice did absolutely nothing to reduce gun violence.
now, why is that? that is not accidental. the assault weapons ban, if it does not ban machine guns, what does it ban? what it does ban, i would suggest, are scary-looking guns. this is a photograph of a remington 750, one of the most popular hunting rifles in america. this rifle would be entirely legal under this so-called assault weapons ban. i have a question for you, mr. lapierre. functionally, in terms of the operations of this fire arm, semi-automatic, you pull the trigger, one bullet comes out. is the firing mechanism in this fire arm materially different from the so-called assault weapons ban that this bill is
targeted at? >> no, it is not. >> instead what it does target are cosmetic features. for example, i am holding in my hand a pistol grip. under this proposed legislation, if this piece of plastic were attached to this rifle, it would suddenly become a banned assault weapon. i would ask you, mr. lapierre, are you aware of any evidence to suggest that attaching a piece of plastic to this rifle would make it in any way slightly more dangerous? >> the problem with the whole bill that senator feinstein introduced, it is based on falsehoods to people that do not understand firearms. to convince them that the performance characteristics of guns they are trying to ban through that bill are different than the performance characteristics that they are not trying to ban.
they make bigger holes, rapid- fire, they spray bullets, they are more powerful, they are heavy armor. all of that is simply not true. the ar-15 uses a 223. i hear all the time people say, no deer hunter would use something that powerful. there are dozens of other calibers that are used in hunting that are more powerful. >> so this rifle, which is entirely legal and is used by millions of americans, is sold in the identical caliber as the so-called assault weapons ban, although those looks different, because they have a piece of plastic attached to them? >> the one that senator feinstein uses in her bill, it has the handle on the bottom, which was prohibited, also uses the exact same.
>> i am out of time and i want to make one final point. there has been much attention drawn to gun shows. the statistic of 40% has been bandied about. that is unfortunately based on a study that occurred before the background check went into effect, so it is highly dubious. i do want to point out what the department of justice has said. the department of justice has said that firearms used in crimes, 1.9% of those firearms come from gun shows. in response to this crime, this body does not act to enact anti- crime legislation to prevent violent crimes. instead, it targets 1.9% of the guns, and a substantial portion of those guns were sold by licensed firearm dealers who already conducted a background check. even that 1.9%, a substantial portion, are already subject to a background check.
i would ask, if we have a second round, to get into the effectiveness or lack thereof of this. >> i will leave the record open for questions here. because of the schedule this afternoon, we may not have a second round, but i will leave the record open. i have questions, but we probably will not have time. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to all the witnesses, especially you, captain kelly. thanks to your beautiful wife, and i mean that in every way. my wife, frannie, and i were heartbroken for the families in newtown, tucson, for those of
you listening or watching this hearing in newtown, i want you to know that minnesotans have you in our thoughts and prayers, and we share in your grief. we shared it when we lost lives at a sign factory. maya is here. she lost her father. we share it every time we bury one of our sons or daughters. i know that a group of students from redlake reservation in minnesota, students who lost their classmates to gun violence, made the 1500-mile trip to newtown just a few days
before christmas just to let them know that they are not alone. we are all in this together. over the past month or so, i have been talking to my constituents i have talked to my constituents how to make our communities safer. i traveled safely with hunters and school officials, with law enforcement officers, with mental health experts. i have convened roundtable discussions and i have had many, many conversations. i have learned is that there is a balance to be struck here. we can honor the second man and we can honor the menace of a culture of responsible gun ownership while taking basic measures that will make our kids and our communities safer. so i have co-sponsored a bill to limit the number of rounds and magazine.
i co-sponsored a bill to require background checks at gun shows. i have co-sponsored senator feinstein's bill to ban assault weapons. i am reviewing legislation to address gun trafficking. i have supported funding for law enforcement programs and i work every day to carry out the work paul wallstone does to repair our mental health system. tomorrow i will introduce the mental health and school act which will improve access to mental health care for kids. catching these issues at an early age is really important. i want to be careful here -- that we don't stigmatize mental illness. the vast majority of people with mental illness are no more violent than the rest of the population. in fact, they are more likely to be the victims of violence. these recent events have caused
us as a nation to scrutinize our failed mental healt and system and i'm glad we're talking about this and a serious way. police chief johnson, i met with some mothers from the mountain view school district in minnesota whose children's lives and their own lives were changed for the better because their kids got access to mental health care that they needed at an early age. they got treatment. their lives are improving and their moms lives are improving. as a community leader and law enforcement official, do you think it will benefit our communities if we are able to use schools to improve access to mental health care?
>> i applaud your initiatives and your work, senator. the answer is absolutely. the father with a child that has mental health issues i think is -- it is absolutely essential. if my aunt child has access to medical care she needs but the record shows and reflex that nearly half the children and adults in this nation who are diagnosed with mental health issues and not have access to the care they need and it gets even worse after the age of 18. we are seeing this in crimes of violence and in crimes across our nation and in my jurisdiction. it is a major problem and i do recognize that most people with mental health issues do not go on to commit violent crimes. however, we have seen over and over again, it seems to be a common thread or theme or issue that we must deal with. >> again, police chief johnson, i have heard from some gun
owners who are worried that congress will outlaw features that they really like in guns, things like pistol grips and barrel shroud is and threaded barrels. some say that these features are merely cosmetic. it seems to me that a lot of these features are not just cosmetic, they are functional. can you and explain why a pistol grip in the right place makes a functional difference, why it is not just a piece of plastic? why are collapsible stocks preventing danger. why are some of the other features dangerous because i feel this is a crucial point? >> i agree completely. it is not just about the capacity of the weapon to handle
numerous rounds. that is absolutely critical in this discussion. we believe no more than 10. we use that weapon with the police because of its technical capability. it has an ability to cool down and handled round after round after round. it has a rugged ability, meant for a combat or environment that one would be placed in facing adversaries, human beings, people. that weapon can be retrofitted with other devices to enhance your offensive capability. the weapon itself has features to adjusted, optics sites, for example, that can cost hundreds of dollars and i have shot this weapon many times.
it would enhance our capability in various tactical maneuvers whether it is from the shoulder or the hip or whether you choose to spray fire the weapon or individually shoot from the shoulder. the optic sites are amazing. the technology advances that weapon as -- that weapon is the weapon of our time. that is where we find ourselves today and certainly, i believe, is meant for the battlefield and a public safety environment only. >> thank you. mr. chairman, before i yield my time, i would like to submit testimony of maya ronman who is here today lost her father in a shooting in september in minneapolis. i would like unanimous consent to submit your testimony for the record.
>> as we indicated earlier, there will be other statements for the record and the record will be kept open for questions. i yield now to senator hatch. we will go to the next republican, senator hatch. >> i thank all of you for being here today. capt. kelly, i appreciate you and your wife and your testimony and your feelings very much. i appreciated much of your testimony. i am grateful you would take the time to be with us and that was wonderful to see your wife again. let me go to you, mr. lapierre. president obama has issued 23 executive actions on gun violence.
can you discuss the commonality between your organization, the nra, and the obama administration when it comes to finding ways to reduce gun violence? >> what we think works, he is what nra has done historically. we do more of which we put more money in. reese support of enforcing the laws on the books 100% of the time. that works. we have supported prison bill and spirit we have states like california where, more than any other state in the country, they send more inmates back in the street and more inmates back in jail for new crimes against their citizens than any other kind -- stayed in the nation.
-- states in the nation. -- state in the nation. nra has always supported what worked. -- works. the innocent are being preyed upon. the statistics are numbing. the 911 calls are horrible. at the scene of the crime, it is the criminal and the victim. victims all over the country want to be able to protect themselves. this whole debate almost puts it in two different categories. if you are in the lead, you get bodyguards. you get high cap mags with semi- automatic protecting this capital. the titans of industry get the body guards, whatever they want. criminals do not obey the law anyway. they get what they want.
in the middle is the hard- working, law-abiding, taxpaying americans that we will make the least capable of defending themselves. we will say you can have a rifle but you cannot have an ar- 15. a sixth shot revolver and not a semiautomatic handgun. you can have a 6-rounds in your magazine, but if three intruders are breaking down your door, you cannot have 15 rounds because somebody thinks that is reasonable in their opinion. >> i understand. >> people want to be able to protect themselves. that is why people support the second amendment. that is why these bills are so troubling. they do not hit the leads. they do not have the criminal. they get the average hard- working, tax pain average american.
>> talking about individual guns. >> one bill bans all kinds of guns used for target shooting, hunting, personal protection, and yet, on the other hand, she accepts guns and has the exact same performance characteristics as the guns she does not have. gun owners know the truth. that is why gun owners in this country, the 100 million, get upset about this stuff. they are the victims of these lies about taking the term assault and applying it to firearms. they know the truth inherently. a look at their heads and they shake their head and say, none of this makes any sense. >> i appreciate that. let me ask you this. in your testimony, you state all women interested -- jurisdictions with concealed laws reap the benefits even if
they choose not to have weapons themselves. please explain why. >> he mentioned gun owners are very concerned about all of these burdens possibly put on law abiding citizens. i will tell you non-gun owners are concerned about this, too. you do not have to choose to carry to be the beneficiary of laws that allow people to carry. for women, you reap the benefits of fewer murders, rapes, possibilities of being a victim of violence, if the state you live in does not than anybody, particularly women, from carrying weapons. it is a matter of choice. we are not saying all women should or need to carry weapons. but we need to protect the second amendment right to choose to defend yourself. >> thank you. professor, you wrote an article
that appears for "the wall street journal" on december 18, 2012. you point out firearms are the most heavily regulated, consumer product in the entire united states. gun-control laws are more prevalent now than in the 1960's. in your opinion, the lack of firearms regulations is not a contributing factor to the recent rise. what has contributed? >> there is a copycat effect. a lot of studies of the
scholars of all kinds of criminals, but especially the people seeking notoriety, show a -- an effect. that is something that makes me think we need immediate protection. in addition, there was a deep institutional causation of the mentally ill in the 1960's. some of that was because of budgetary issues. a lot of the time the promise was we would put the people in halfway houses, which is a great idea.
then there was never the funding for the half place -- for the halfway houses and people walk away and there is nothing done to follow up. jared louoghner, adam lanzq, so many of these perpetrators absolutely would have been civilly committed under the system we had 50 years ago. we need to move back towards greater possibility for civil commitment for the dangerously violent mentally ill. both the senator from minnesota were saying that mentally ill people are not any more dangerous or violent than anyone else. there is a subset of them that are dangerously violent and mentally ill and we need to have them off the streets before that -- so they can add to it endanger themselves or others. >> mr. chairman, i would like to have a statement put into the record. >> that objection. -- without objection. >> thank you so much and i want to thank all of you for being here. it has been and leighton hearing and if this were a simple thing -- there are some freedoms among the mentally ill have to be considered, too.
this is complex. this is not easy but i can say this -- i think this has been a pitch typically good thing and i appreciate all of you testifying. >> thank you for that, senator hatch. >> thank you for convening this important. to the panel, thank you for your testimony and to captain kelly and a wonderful wife, thank you for everything you are doing to bring an important message. we as a committee are wrestling here today and we as a country are wrestling with how to respond appropriately and effectively to a whole string of horrific shootings weather in newtown or tucson or in any sikh temple or virginia tech, there are too many of these incidents a year upon year. i am grateful for all my colleagues who have engaged in this to our discussion today about how to balance things. one of the most important things is to get our facts right. a number of my colleagues have made a great deal of the number of cases of federal gun prosecution's going down.
in the most recent report from the executive office of united states attorney and it turns out the number of defendants charged with federal gun violence is steady. in 2011, it was 46% higher than in 2000. i encourage all who are paying attention to the numbers. what matters is the number of defendants prosecuted with federal gun violations. i have lots of things i would like to touch upon and i'm grateful our vice-president, joe biden, has led a broad argument and lifted up to the folks across the country and my state of delaware. i have heard from parents whose children suffer from mental illness and who are struggling to provide the care they deserve and need. law-enforcement officials, educators, community leaders, gun owners, sportsmen, people are concerned about how we strike the right balance and how
we make our country safer. if i could, to captain kelly, thank you for leading americans to responsible solution. one of the main ideas you and your wife have expanded on our background checks. how it is today that convicted felons are able to get their hands on weapons despite our current background checks laws and how can we fix them? >> currently, senator cruse earlier mentioned of the 1.9% of criminals that committed a crime with a gun are prisoners. i want to look at that for a second. there's also a statistic that says 80% of criminals got their guns from a private sale or transfer. by closing that part of the existing loopholes which is the
fact that there is no requirement to get a background check with a private cell, you could be effectively reduce the number of guns and hands of criminals. we know from what happened in tucson that if there was an effective background check, which includes having the mental health data and a person's drug use into the system and if, in fact, there was no gun show lupo, i would contend he would have had a difficult time getting a gun. the first in the knees to be done is we need to have a universal background check. if background checks are good enough for somebody using a federal firearms are licensed dealer like wal-mart or i just purchased a got a couple of months ago, a hunting rifle, and went for a background check -- why isn't that good for other sales from a private individual or sales from somebody who is
really in business at a gun show? >> captain kelley, as a gun owner yourself, how do you feel that a thorough universe a background check like you describe either 4 per -- purchase of weapons or large capacity magazines -- how could that affect or in french or second amendment right. >> i don't think it would infringe my rights of all. i think i'm as strong a supporter of the second amendment as anybody on this panel. i have flown 38 combat missions over iraq and kuwait defending our constitution. i have been shot at dozens of times. i find it interesting that often, we talk about putting a security guard to school. that is better than no security guard at the school but from my experience of being shot at and what that actually feels like and how chaotic it is, but with the exception of chief johnson, i would suspect that not many members of this power in this room, for that matter, have been in a fire spot. it is chaos.
there is really some effective things we can do. one is the background check. let's make it difficult for the criminals, the terrorists, and the mentally ill to get a gun. >> i agree with you and i have agreed to co-sponsor legislation. at the outset, i am grateful for the work the nra does in providing safe gun ownership to millions of americans. i hope you'll take into account the data i have often gone prosecutions. i disagree with a point you made your testimony. you said that background checks will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them. that may be true but the point that captain kelly makes is telling. if we put in place in combination tougher restrictions on straw purchases and those who buy guns legally but sell
them to those who shouldn't have them and we put in place universal background checks and impose some responsibility on responsible gun owners to report lost or stolen weapons in combination, wouldn't all of these things effectively move us towards a country with a number of those who should not have weapons cannot get access? >> i think you will end up with a huge bureaucracy with a huge waste of police resources and money that could go into doing things in the police criminal justice area that was saved lives. the study you were talking about actually says we are
criminals if we have guns. 37% are from black market. if you try to do this universe a background check which sounds what ever, it ends up being a universal federal nightmare imposed upon law-abiding people all over this country. criminals will ignore it and the federal government we already know about prosecute. the vice president at the bidding with our people said they didn't have time to process this, it goes by the cases. what is the point of all playing. -- what is the point of this whole thing? >> the data you just suggested is not just closing the gun show loophole.
it is also thoroughly enforcing those who transfer weapons. chief johnson, is valuable to have the input of law enforcement professionals. in book -- in your view with the background check and aggressive enforcement, would that be a waste of police resources or would that make a difference on the street? >> i have to respectfully disagree on -- with wayne on this issue. public safety, police -- we are ready. we are unified on this issue that a universal background check will make our society a safer place, will make my police officer is safer is absolutely essential. >> thank you, chief and thank- you to the panel. >> again, another member of this committee, senator flake of arizona, we appreciate you being here. if it's any consolation, i have bad seed years ago. >> it is good to know and thank you for convening this and thinking to the panel for being here and offering excellent testimony. i especially want to thank mark for being here and i'm sure gaby is watching the
proceedings. i just visited her and i want you to know and -- and her to know how much we miss her. i was on a call this morning with a few dozen ranchers, border renters in arizona, and it was reminded that this is a practice she began years ago, to talk about immigration issues and keep them up to speed and seek their input. i have continued that practice. i can tell you she offered
wonderful representation to the people of southern arizona's and she is missed. i'm grateful to you and to her for the public service you have offered in the last year under difficult circumstances and taking up this new cause so thank you. with regard to the tucson shooting, you mentioned jared loughner had had drug use in the past that might have triggered an entry into a system that he may have been checked also the mental health aspect series to bruce gude -- seems to be the difficult problem to solve. in maryland, i believe, there have only been 56 mental health records provided to the ncia system and arizona as 125,000 better not interfaced with the system. what are the major problems there? i will take anybody who can comment on this, perhaps chief johnson, or mark - is its sole lead a privacy issues? many of those have a federal nexus and that is something we can deal with here. i am interested in in why it is so difficult to have some of the mental health records entered into the system.
do you want to take this? >> government o'malley in the state of maryland last week introduced his plans to increase significantly data into the national criminal background check system. you are right, maryland could do much better in this area. >> is this just an issue with maryland or any other state? i am assuming it is similar to any other state. is it an issue of resources or are there privacy concerns that prevent them from offering this? guest: >> 18 states submit less than 100 records to the system. amongst the middle school community, there is even fear. how does hipaa fact this
system? i believe the president's plan called for incentivizing this and it would help the problem. >> do you want to comment? >> thank you for your kind words. of the records that arizona has not submitted to the background check system, i don't know why. i imagine it could be something -- it might be a matter of resources. maybe the funding is not there to have the manpower to do that. possibly, maybe there is no will. maybe for some reason in the state of arizona, maybe they don't have a desire to share that information. i don't know but after this hearing i will try to find out. i will get back to you. >> and so will i..
i think we can have a real impact here so i thank you all for your testimony. thank you. >> senator brooke mccaul, you are recognized next. everybody assumes that you and i had a number of discussions about the tragedy in connecticut including one telephone call when you were about to meet i have relied a great deal on both your expertise and law enforcement background also the fact that you're from connecticut. >> thank you and want to express my appreciation to you for sensitivity and your condolences. so many of my colleagues were there and expressions we have bad this morning and for the beating this hearing which is a beginning in what i hope will be -- a call to action that newtown has begun an action that is really bipartisan. i think there is a real potential for high part, on grounds issue. we serve have more in common. i want to thank all the members
of the panel for your patience and staying power. it has been a very informative and worthwhile hearing. but i want to say a particular thing and others have, to captain kelly and gabt giffords enter family for being here. a victim from aurura is here. some of the sandy hook families are not here. if it is no objection, would like to submit the op-ed from "the new york post." >> without objection. to achieve johnson, you are here not only in a personal capacity but, in my view, as resenting and reflecting the courage and heroism the tens of thousands of law enforcement community, police and firefighters and birth responders across the country who, every day braved the threat
of gunfire and are often out- man the oregon by criminals. i appreciate your service to our country and i was in sandy hook at a firehouse or parents want to find out whether their children or alive. i will never forget the sights and sounds of that day when the grief and pain was expressed in the voices and faces of those parents. as much evil as the were on that day in newtown, there was also a tremendous power was a man
goodness. it is the heroism and goodness of the educators also perished literally tried to save those children by putting themselves between the bullets and their children. and the heroines of the region and heroism of the first responders and police who ran into the building to stop the shooter not knowing he was dead and they're being they're stopped the tragedy. i want to thank the community of sandy hook. i have spent countless hours there, the better part of two weeks after the shooting and most recently, this past weekend, the dedication of a memorial and time with one of the families. their strength and courage has been an inspiration to the country and very important to advance an agenda of making our nation safer. when the way they have done that has been to create the sandy hook promise. i would like to read the promise. we have it on a chart here. it is -- "i promise to honor the 26 lives lost at sandy hook elementary school. i promise to do everything i can to encourage and support common sense solutions that make my community and our country safer
from similar acts of violence. i promise this time there will be change." tens of thousands of americans from connecticut and across the country have made the sandy hook promise as an ally. -- as have i.. i want to ask mr. la irerre if the will take the promised. >> we have advocated putting our security in the schools, fixing the mental health system, computerizing the records of those mentally adjudicated. karl rove we can convince some of these companies -- i am not talking about the first amendment -- to stop putting out the violent video games and finally, we need to enforce the reasonable gun laws on but books that the nra supports.
also joined in the sense of promise? >> there is not a law-abiding firearms owner across the united states that was not torn to pieces by what happened in sandy ". -- hook. they just don't believe their constitutional right to own a firearm and the fact they can protect their family with a firearm results and the problem. >> you and i agree there should be more prosecution of illegal gun possession and illegal gun ownership. >> i have been on this capitol hill for 20 some years agree to that and nobody does it and that's the problem. i will make you a bed right now
-- when president obama leaves the office four years from now, his prosecutions will not be much different than they are now. if they did 20 per month, they would do 20,000. let's see if we get there. >> chief johnson, you have talked very persuasively on the need for better background checks. do you believe those background check should be applied to ammunition purchases as well as firearms purchases? >> our organization supports background checks on ammunition sales. >> iq. captain kelly, i'm just about out of time but i want to ask you, if i may, if you support
better background checks as an advocate of the second amendment? i join you in believing that americans have a strong and robust right to possess firearms. it is below of the land. -- it is dull lot of the lab. do you believe that better background checks on firearm purchases would help make both arizona and our nation safer? >> absolutely, senator. while we were having this hearing, we don't know the details, but in phoenix, ariz., there is another, what seems to
be possibly a shooting with multiple victims. it does not seem like anybody has been killed but the initial reports are three people injured in phoenix, ariz. with multiple shots fired. there are 50 or so police cars on the scene and i agree with you, sir, that universal background checks that has the mental health records in that and as the criminal records in its will go a long way to saving people's lives. >> and improving the quality of information -- absolutely >> my let me again thank the panel. my hope is that newtown will be remembered not just as a place
but as a promise and that we use this tragedy as a means of transforming the debate, the discussion, the action we need to make america safer. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i understand we are coming to a close. i will make an exception on the normal rules. senator cruz one more question and we will do that and i will yield to the newest member of this committee. enter cruz. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i thank you allowing me to ask additional questions. i want to ask the question of chief johnson. your testimony today was in tension with what i have heard from police officer serving on the ground in the state of
texas, namely that your testimony, as i understand it, was, in your judgment, stricter gun control laws would prove effective in limiting crime. the data i have seen suggests that the evidence doesn't support that. if one looks in the district of columbia which had district is gun-control laws in this country and banned firearms, when the ban was implemented in 1976, there were fewer than two and homicides and that rose to over 350 in 1988 and two over 450 in 1993. that pattern is reflected across major urban centers. these urban centers that have the strictest gun bans like the city of chicago. unfortunately, it suffers from 15.9 murders per hundred thousand sisson. your city, the city of baltimore, has 31.3 murders per half 100,000 citizens. that contrast with other major
urban areas like my home town of houston which is not have strict gun-control laws like the other jurisdictions, that has a murder rate of 9.2%, 1/3 of baltimore's. the city of boston -- the city of austin has 1/10 that a baltimore. in light of the evidence, what empirical data supports your contention that restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms would decrease crime rather than making people more vulnerable to violent criminals. >> we know that nearly 2 million gun purchases were stopped from obtaining their firearms since 1994-2009.
senator, i would say that your statistics would be much greater in homicides. what is often missed is the medical intervention and takes place today from the emt in the field to shock trauma. that would be much higher. i am here today representing nine major police executive leadership organizations. for the sake of time, i will not read all of those. they are a matter of record the problem. in areas like baltimore, new york, chicago with some of the toughest gun regulations and laws in the nation is outside weapons coming in. it is about the background check problem. it is about the acquisition of these firearms outside the
normal firearms licensed dealer. that is what we have to fix. high-capacity magazines or a problem and we are seeing assault weapons used each and every day in crimes and police are seizing these weapons each and every day. holistic way, with the plan that is laid out, we can make our nation and much safer place. >> thank you. we have three new members of this committee. you, senator, have the last word. i occupied the bad seed so you are very patient. -- i occupied that seat so you are being very patient. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. i would like to thank the panel for this very lively discussion on what is a highly emotional subjects. captain kelly, i would like to thank you for being here because gaby and i were elected to the house of representatives in the same year and her courage continues to inspire us. i certainly take to heart her testimony today asking us to do something now to reduce gun violence in our country. chief johnson, you are, literally, in the trenches. you are on the firing line and i give much credence to your testimony. we have a lot of hunters in hawaii so i certainly understand their perspective. this issue is not about
abrogating sacramento and our rights. it is about reasonable limits on those rights. -- one area that has been deemed reasonable is the requirement for background checks. what many of us are saying is what already has been deemed reasonable should be a reasonable requirement when guns are sold regardless of how or where they are sold. i hope we can reach a bipartisan agreement on the reasonable limits requiring background checks when guns are sold. captain kelly, i do appreciate you started your testimony today by saying there is no perfect solution. there are all kinds of antecedents -- environmental issues and community issues that lead to gun violence but i believe we should do that which is reasonable because nothing is perfect. i believe one of the areas of focus for your organization, americans for responsible solutions, is the mental health part of what we should be addressing. do you have any key suggestions
that congress can take to help address the mental illness problem? >> first of all, compelling states to share with the federal government the records, the appropriate records, of adjudicated mental illness and criminal records as well and with in the federal government. i had a conversation with the vice-president who talked specifically about inter- government agencies and why there has also been some issues in certain federal government agency at times getting the records into the background check system. if we could improve the system, close the gun show loophole, require background checks for private sellers -- i think we will go a long way to preventing many of these murders and the mass shootings in this country. we will not stop all of them but there is certainly a reason that we have 20 times the murder rate, 20 times the murder rate, of other developed countries.
i think that is unacceptable. like you said, as an organization, i think congress can come together on this issue. realize there is a problem and it certainly can be solved. >> it is one thing when someone has already been deemed to show signs of mental ailments and if there has been an adjudication, that identification, is much easier and therefore that information should get into our system. it becomes harder when you're trying to determine whether someone is suffering from mental alma's and needs help and often these kind of signs manifest themselves certainly in the home but also in the schools.
ofdon't have a lot psychologists, therapists in our schools. would you also support more of those kinds of personnel in our schools so we can help these individuals? >> absolutely, in the case of jared loughner in tucson, pima college was aware he had some form mental illness. he was expelled because of it. multiple cases of erratic and disruptive behavior in the classroom and out. for some reason, he was not referred, as far as i know, to inappropriate mental health authority for an evaluation. i know those of the need to be voluntary but his parents, as well. in this case, there seems there was a lack of education within the community to get him some effective treatment. it is release said.
in his case, as in many other cases, often, you will see a man was paranoid schizophrenic that commits some of these horrific crimes. but with treatment, they would never have done these things. absolutely, we will work at americans who are responsible, we will work to fix the mental health aspect of this which is a big part of that. i agree with mr. la pierre, as a major issue but so is a comprehensive universal background check without a loophole and getting the data into the system. those are critical things that can make our communities much safer. >> i do have one question for chief johnson. this is an area that has not been raised today so far. it has to do with an environment that allows cyber- bullying to occur in our schools and sometimes bullying can lead to violent situations. i'm sure it has happened in baltimore and recently in hawaii we had a situation in our
schools where bullying led to fights and the school had to be closed. one of the ways we prevent escalation of violent behavior is to put in place programs that will address the issue of bullying which takes place in just about every state. do you have any thoughts on that? calls president's plan for not only funding and the announcement for additional police officers and i believe congress should support these plans -- they also call for funding to support additional counselors and psychological service providers in the schools. certainly, in my particular case and in many jurisdictions across the country, we have police officers in all the high schools and the middle schools.
it costs about $85 million per year. they have a place that we believe that more needs to be done in this area. in my two school shootings, in both shootings, a bully was alleged to be a factor. >> q. >> thank you very much. i want to thank all the witnesses who came here to this lengthy hearing. i think what we are trying to do and i hope people realize on this committee that we are trying to write laws to protect the public. i cherish and exercise my second amendment rights as i do all my rights under the constitution. i don't think individual rights include weapons of war, land mines, tanks, or machine guns or rocket propelled grenades. we have stepped back from those levels. i came here to have a discussion and hope to build consensus. the there is more work that
needs to be done. if there was one consensus, we would know what to do. it breaks all our hearts. i am one hour's drive from another country, canada. i don't see the same kind of problem there. i want to find out how we can stop what is happening. i believe there should be some areas of agreement. the committee can get tomorrow and mark up legislation for next month. this month is virtually over. and then take it to the floor. we will respect the diversity of viewpoints expressed today. we will have hearings that will have other viewpoints. but we have to listen to one another. we have or the kind of violence
mrs. gillibrand: madam preside madam president, rise today on behalf of the millionsf americans who are saying enough is enough. they've seen too much senseless deadly gun violence and are demanding commonsense solutions out of congress. one solution that i've been focused on for a long time is ending gun trafficking. this is critically important to public safety issues, where i believe members of both sides of the aisle can come together and agree. we can and should agree that it's time to crack down on the black market of illegal guns that criminals rely upon to obtain weapons that are later used in violent crimes. almost one month ago, the nypd suered one of the bloodiest nights in recent history when three officers suffered gunshot
wounds in two separate crimes within an hour apart. according to the news reports, one of the handguns recovered from the scene was importe by traffickers from philadelphia. another one came from north carolina. thankfully, these heroes are on their way towards recovery. just one year ago, new york police officer peter fegogski, the father of four beautiful girls, was tragically killed on the beat with an illegal weapon purchased in the black market in virginia. i will never forget the faces of slain 17-year-old honor student niasha priard's parents, who i met jt weeks after being sworn in to the senate. niasha was also killed by an illegal gun one terrible night when she was doing nothing more than enjoying an evening with friends. according to new york city's mayor's office, 85% of the guns
used in crime in new york city come from out of state and 90% of those guns are brought through the illegal black market run by traffickers. the sad fact is that more than 30 people die every single day due to gun violence. these senseless killis must stop. we have an obligation to act and prevent tomorrow's senseless deaths by ensuring that guns stay out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill and to strengthen our laws so that law enforcement have the ability to go after the gun runners and take down these illegal markets. the truth is that supporting the secondmendment and reducing gun violence are compatible and consistent. responsible gun owners vehemently oppose any kind of gun violence, the kind of gun violence that struck in newtown, aurora, oak creek, and the
thousands of families across america every single year who suffer. we should be able to find reasonable and commonsense reforms that can preserve our rights but also protect our families. because keeping our children safe from the scourge of gun violence is not a democratic or republican principle. it's not pro-gun or antigun. this is an issue that all americans can support. there's no political ideology that finds this cruel loss of life acceptable. i was incredibly pleased to see president obama include as part of his comprehensive plan to prevent gun violence a bill that i first introduced in 2009 with mayor bloomberg a commissioner kelly called "the gun trafficking prevention act," which would be the first federal law to define gun trafficking as a federal crime and event scofers illegal gunsrom being -- scores of illegal guns
from being moved into the hands of criminals. we have thousands of laws but effectively none of them are directly focused on preventing someone from driving from one state to another state with a load of guns in the back of a truck that they can sell directly to criminals. it's shocking to me as a mother. it's shocking to me as a lawmaker. but this is something we can actually fix. over the past three years, more than 33,000 guns used in violent crimes showed telltale signs of black market trafficking. 420,000 firearms were stolen and thousands of guns with obliterated serial numbers were uncovered by law enforcement. so while law enforcement is working overtime to track down illegal guns and apprehend those who traffic these weapons, current law restricts their ability to investigate and
prosecute these crimes. we can all agree this simply makes no sense and leaves all of our communities vulneble. i am very proud to have worked with my colleague and friend, senator mark kirk, to introduce a bipartisan bill today, senate bill 179. this bill takes onhe problem of gun trafficking head on. our bipartisan bill would empower local, state and federal law enforcement to investigate and prosecute gun traffickers, straw purchasers and their entire criminal networks. our bill does nothing to affect the constitutionally protected rights of responsible law-abiding gun owners. by cracking down on illegal trafficking and their vast criminal networks, we can stop the flow of these illegal guns that are coming into our city neighborhoods and reduce the gun
vience. law enforcement officials across the country have said that they need this legislation to be able to fight crime. i urge my colleagues to support this bl, and i urge passage of this commonsense nonpartisan, bipartisan piece of legislation. i would also like to now submit a statement for the record that senator mark kirk has authored. i'd like to appear following my statement. the presiding officer: >> without objection. >> next, senators on immigration reform. later, a preview of the president's state of the union address and how foreign defense
policy will be handled. on the next "washington journal," a look at auto industry. we will preview what is expected for car sales this year and talk about auto safety and federal regulation. matt blunt.s the s "washington journal" is live on c-span every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. >> thursday, former senator chuck hagel testifies before the senate armed services committee. live coverage at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span and c-span radio.
>> at age 65, she was the oldest first lady when her husband became president. she never set foot in washington. her husband died just one month after his inauguration. meet the other women who served as first lady in c-span's knew of original series. -- new original series. season one begins presidents day at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific on c-span, c-span radio, and c- span.org. >> wednesday, senators chuck schumer and john mccain discussed details of immigration issues. the senators were featured speakers at the political playbook breakfast. this is 50 minutes.
>[applause] >> good morning. thank you so much for coming out early for our breakfast. welcome to those of you in life stream land, i appreciate having you. this is our first breakfast in 2013. we look forward to seeing you throughout this year after the amazing year we had last year. we will go inside the "gang of eight" this morning. they helped pull off a bipartisan agreement. they will take you inside that. before we chat with the senators, we will welcome manu ragu, who helped break the story. after that, senator mccain.
before that, i would like to think bank of america for their partnership, making these conversations possible, including that incredible brunch where people had a great time. we had great conversations. the play book series is a form that makes it possible for us to talk in depth about the issues that matter most in washington. in twitter land, if i do it right, the questions will pop up right here. i got my first tweet. i will try to do that. [laughter] they will pop up as we come. now, i would like to welcome politico star manu ragu. [applause] thank you for coming in. thank you very much.
was the "gang of eight" a secret? was their detective work in uncovering it? >> yes. they did not want to let on how much work and progress was being made behind the scenes. in washington, whenever word starts leaking out about what is happening, those talks blow up. as they were negotiating this was happening at the time of the fiscal cliff negotiations, much of the media focus was happening on the fiscal cliff. the staff was meeting, the senators were meeting, and they really only had the first meeting after the holidays. last wednesday, when they were close to finalizing that agreement. it was not until over the weekend that they actually finalize did and announced it on monday. things moved rapidly. >> as we pre-game here, we are
setting the scene for the conversation to come. tell me something about the immigration bill senator mccain and senator schumer will not. >> [l;aughs] >> a bit of a truce bomb. taking this five page document into a very detailed legislative policy. there are going to be a number of -- this bill could be several hundred pages long, and we are talking about a very sweeping change, not just to the immigration system but how we deal with them. how they actually do that and the hurdles, it will be interesting to see. >> you pointed out that this is one of the biggest debates. >> remember what happened then.
this blew up in the senate after a big push by the bush administration and the bipartisan coalition trying to get this through. it suffered opposition from both sides, particularly the right, creating an amnesty, but we have seen some of those voices muted, at least in the initial days, and we will see. >> this gang of eight, four republicans, four democrats, who put together this framework, this immigration bill, how did we find out that the gang exists? >> talking to senators. one of our reporters was the first one to write about this. talking to senators about what exactly is going on on immigration, because the president was certainly laid the groundwork on the new congress, and as we know, nothing can get done unless there is bipartisan support, unless there is actually a legislative push. it turns out there was interest, and it all happened right after
the election. lindsey graham made a telephone call to chuck schumer and said, "look, i want to start talking about immigration." john mccain started one day to talk about immigration, and what happens? we are where we are. >> some people know that capitol hill is amazing, because you can walk up to anyone, and that does not mean they will talk to you, but you can ask a question. when i moved from the hill, from the white house to the hill, i was like standing back because i was trained like not to approach people, and they were, "go ahead, approach people." i have watched you. you physically grabbed the senators. tell me the secret in getting these senators to talk to you. >> i do not actually grab them. >> yes, you do. >> i sort of hide behind the
bushes and pop out. you try to develop a relationship over the years and talking to them and grabbing them in certain locations, where they are more predisposed to chat. when they are running quickly to a vote, for instance, i would not get the best interview, but if they are walking back to their office, you will have more time to chat and get to know them. over the years, you develop a level of trust, that they can trust what you will report will be accurate and is representative of what they are saying. being able to understand people's patterns, where there are boy to be at certain times, at times where you interview them. >> what is the buzz? immigration, the big bucket. what is there? how are they devoting their
attention? >> the fiscal talks are taking a back seat, at least right now, because immigration is starting to drive the debate. that will be resolved, at least on the senate side, and then they will unveil their proposal, and as it goes through the committee process, but that will happen at the same time about keeping the government operating patches -- past march 27. they have to deal with those issues once again. this week, of course, it is immigration. there is not a lot for senators to weigh in on. there is no legislative text yet. we will see that debate really, really consumed congress in
march, april, may, when this bill starts moving out of committee. >> as we say goodbye, what are you going to be doing today? >> i will still be trying to get as much information about what is happening in these talks as well as what senators -- how they view the latest immigration proposal, as well as several other things. >> and you write one story? five stories? what is your deal? >> hopefully not tens stories. today, i think the initial reaction is out of the initial stories, of this group. they are starting to move off of the news side, and we are going to start to get into what happened behind the scenes and onto some of the other debates. of course, the judiciary committee, that will be very
important, as well. >> jumping in as the conversation goes on. thank you. appreciate it. [applause] >> and now, without further delay, we want to welcome senator mccain and senator schumer. senator schumer, thank you very much. senator schumer did not trust us to have sweet'n low this time. >> it is made in brooklyn. 1200 employees. eat sweet'n low. it is good for you. >> the aid package, the amount of money in these times of austerity, one of your biggest accomplishments. >> thank you. there are so many people in new york waiting for that aid. i was in highland park, and i
was with someone in their home community. 60% of the stores on main street are still not open. half of the homes cannot be occupied. they could not be rebuilt because of the money not being there. no contract. no bank will lend money unless they know the money is there. now they know that people will be able to get back and get on with their lives. >> the vice president is going also. it is an annual conference. i river a few years ago, vladimir putin came to talk. >> -- i remember a few years
ago, vladimir putin came to talk. >> what is your vibes about the president? >> i do not think it was his happiest day after the 60 minutes speech. >> why is that? >> i think he is one of the most likable and congenial men i've ever known in the united states senate, and i think chocolate agree. >> something rare, which is four democrats, four republicans, coming together. you all served years since senator schumer came to the other body, and the gang of eight started to come together. the friday after the election, senator lindsey graham gave you a call. on saturday morning. you saw him on your call sheet. you called him, and you said what? >> i said, "hi, linzy --
lindsey." that was wonderful, and he said he had talked to john mccain, and my heart went peter patter. -- pitter patter. there are different television shows, sunday morning talk shows. and we both said we were going to do it, and there we are. >> senator, you have gone back and forth. what made you decide to join it? >> i have always been for it, but i have always been concerned about border security, and i think with good reason. if you talk to the experts, there are still a number smuggled into united states that come in it from the border.
there is huge violence. we have people on mountaintops that are drug dealers. there are these coyotes, and they mistreat them, and horrible things happen to people are brought up part -- brought across. we have made significant improvements, and there have also been technology advancements in places like iraq and afghanistan, where we can surveil the orders. it gets as hot as 130 degrees, and that is hard on people, so we have really got to do the technology side of this thing, which, by the way, the israelis have been able to do, and i am confident we can make that progress to assure our citizens that their lives are secure. we are in a secure building. in southern arizona every night,
they have drug people going across their property. they deserve security. we can achieve that, and we are on the road to doing that. >> members going with you. what will you see? what will you see when you go to the border? >> first of all, they can see the vastness. the second thing they can see is the improvements that have been made. third, things that still need to be done. talking to the men and women on the ground, ones that are out there every day, literally risking their lives, there is nothing like having eyeballs on the issue to really get a good understanding. >> yesterday was the sixth meeting of the gang. >> yes, but we hate the word "gang." >> , on. -- come on. let's rebrand it.
what would you rather be called? >> group. >> group. great americans. how about that? >> what did you cover, and what is the next step? excuse me. these meetings are in your office? >> we alternate. we do not want it to be a democrat or republican proposal, so we alternate between john's office and my office. >> and then i try to get some kosher food for senator schumer. maybe some salmon or something like that. >> john said something when we were meeting about the details. i said, "do you think we can get this done by march?" and he said, "absolutely."
last night, we started tackling some of the biggest issues, parameters for measuring when the border is secure and about those gaining citizenship, but since there are so many, and we want to make sure that they are not treated any better for crossing the border illegally than those who waited in line. we made huge progress. 15 minutes. our staffs are today meeting to with people from dhs, the border people, to go over some of the technologies that john mentioned and other things. these are set meetings. so we're going to meet on tuesday and thursday at a set time every week until we get this done, with wednesday being staff meetings to work out, and thursday to review what the
staff has fleshed out with the legislative language and details. >> the audiences here and on line. you had said that you would have principles by february. a deadline beaten by four days, a record. legislative language by march, and, senator schumer, you said you hope for passage on the floor by late spring, which really means july, right? >> well, you do not know. we are right now ahead of schedule, as you were big enough to mention. i think in the country to get this done on both sides of the aisle, and senator leahy has been great. both john and i agree. we are going to go through committee. we are going to go through the regular order process. john and i worked on a group that came up with some rules changes in an effort to strengthen that, so we can go
back. >> 51 votes. >> and we very much want to see the regular order restored. i have younger senators come to me and say, "what is a conference committee really like? how do you legislate in committees?" and it is because we do not do it anymore, and it makes being a legislator less pleasant, and we get less done, so the immigration bill will be the first big test. senator leahy agree that we would have all of the time we needed. there will be a big market committee. lots of amendments out there, and senator reid has said when we are ready to go to the fore, we will, so our hope is late spring, early summer. >> they get together and oppose amendments. will you stick together? >> we have not talked about
that, but i think. i think we have to, unless there is something we both agreed to. in other words, it is going to be as these kinds of things are, so we will have to take some tough votes in order to keep it intact, so that is so far down the road right now. we have not even had a chance -- >> one of the things we agree on is that the core principle has to stay intact. that does not mean that every single amendment john and i will agree on. we probably will not. i think it could take three to four weeks. it is such an important issue to america, and it is so complicated, and it deals with every aspect. i think we should have a full, robust debate. they hope that we can pass this
with a nice, sizable bipartisan deal, that would make it easier for the house to pass. we do not want to have just five republicans. we will not get all five democrats. >> it will be there, either way. >> john and marco rubio have shown such strength. i have been really impressed with their design to meet us in the middle. the same thing with bodman méndez and dick durbin on the other side. they are getting a lot of flak, and they are showing strength. that is another thing. but there is a trace of masochism in all three of us. [laughter] >> senator mccain, how hazardous
is it for a young politician, like marco rubio? >> marco rubio represents a very large state. a lot of hispanic and latino voters. he understands the issues and is articulate. i think that it is very helpful to have a newer member of the senate that is of his, frankly, really, it a deep understanding of the issue and appreciation. as you know, his family came from cuba, and he understands, i think, the issues confronting the people that come to this country either legally or illegally as well as anyone, and i would like to say about chuck, he has been very strong. there are people on his side of the aisle. he has had to push back against that, as well.
there will be people at both ends. they will not ever agree. they have to understand. we are not seeking 100 votes, but we are seeking 80 votes, and i think we can achieve that. >> senator schumer, that is the hope, getting a large majority on each side. senator mccain, you said that what senator marco rubio is doing is helpful to the senate. is it helpful to him? >> i think so. well, and he took a leadership role on a very important issue. one thing in my political life, if you do the right thing, it always ends up ok. if you do something for political reasons, in my experience, and i have done that, it comes out badly. i think marco rubio is doing the right thing. >> i agree with john completely
in all of this. den. daniel in the lions' after we came out with the principles, he signed up with all of the talk shows, very conservative radio and television host, and it was amazing. rush limbaugh has been more hostile. >> yesterday -- >> on the show. >> marco rubio, in the lions' den, when the show started, he was far more hostile than at the end, and that will be a real service, -- >> what he is trying to do, and we are trying to do is to have our talk-show friends, people on the right at fox and others, they think the status quo is acceptable. the status quo is not acceptable to have 11 million people in the shadows in this country.
i appreciate chucks cooperation. we have to get a secure border. in 1986, we gave amnesty to 3 million people, and now we have 11 million people in this country illegally. i do not want to hand down to the next generation a situation where we have another large group of people who have come to this country illegally, and i think chuck understands that. that goes all long way in assuaging the concerns. >> one more question. we, dick anbar and on sunday, we were on the phone with the hispanic leadership. -- we, it did and i on sunday. there are the groups that so you're into of their brethren,
brothers and sisters. brethren i guess is no longer a politically correct word. i do not know if there is a female analogy. >> sister. >> i did not want to say that in case i get criticized. sisterhood. they yearn for them to come out of the shadows, but they it understand that just to have a wish list and say, "this is what we believe and, and are not able to compromise, that will consign the problem to go on. it is not just for us with the groups, but understand that compromise is a necessary part of getting something done. >> there is one other dirty little secret here. 72% of the hispanic american vote went to the president of the united states in the last election. republicans are beginning to appreciate that if we are going
to have a meaningful dialogue with our hispanic citizens, latino voters, they are going to have to resolve this issue. it is just a fact. >> what specifically did governor romney do wrong on this issue? >> one of the things i enjoyed after i lost was the unceasing broad of criticism and second- guessing [laughter] so -- >> so now it is your turn. >> i think the republican party has failed to understand to any significant degree the importance of this issue to our hispanic voters. i am talking pure politics, and that is we are elected to office because the voters think we will help them achieve their hopes and dreams and aspirations for the future.
if you have a large block of americans who believe that you are trying to keep their brethren and sister good down, fellow hispanics down, obviously that is going to have an effect on their vote. so i think republicans, not all monolithic, but more sensitive to these hopes and dreams and aspirations that have been reflected in the ballot. >> ok. last question. we will plunge into specifics of the bill. senator mccain, there are republicans in the house and senate trying to derail this. one cannot from texas yesterday. how damaged will the republican party be? >> senator schumer and i are presenting two bills. it will be a tough, tough fight, american public opinion has shifted dramatically since 2007.
poll after poll shows that the majority of the american people believe that there should be a path to citizenship as long as they pay a fine, back taxes, do things. do the things necessary in order to achieve citizenship, including being behind those two came to the country legally. that is a huge caveat and changes the numbers rather dramatically. civil however opposed to it is now looking at public opinion polls that are very different in my view than they were in 2006. >> senator mccain, if this goes down, what will be the consequences for the republican party? >> i think the trend will continue of a lack of support of hispanic voters, and also, as you look at the demographics,
that means that we will go from republican to democrat, but there is a lot of issues that our citizens care about besides immigration that they will be making their judgments on, but until we get that issue resolved, then we will not be able to debate those. >> you are saying if this goes down, the republicans will be worse? >> i am not in the business -- yogi berra said do not try to predict, especially when you are talking about the future. i think it is a danger, but, mike, i think the reason we are doing this is because we see this issue out there unresolved. it is not so much concern about the future. >> i was just going to say, on our side, there are some who have heard the argument. let's leave that out there as an issue because it will insure the
dominance of the democratic party for a long time. that is just as wrong as the people who say do not do anything, and i think the vast majority of democrats, the president included, want to get something done here. >> at the press conference the other day, i think there are a lot of people wonder about who wants this. why are you convinced that he once the achievement more than the issue? >> i have talked to him several times based surveys, and he really does care about it. he knows how important it is for the economy of the country. in has been our number-one issue to solve the immigration problem. 11 million people come out of the shadows and pay taxes. in terms of future flow, we all agree. it is absurd that we attract the best and brightest, let them get a ph.d., and masters, and
then say you have got to go home and compete against us. it makes no sense. the president understands that. and let me tell you, he has been terrific. this idea that we were jockeying is not true. dick durbin and i spoke with him on sunday. we had a great conversation. he has been extremely positive. and i think he has played a very constructive role. he is a rally in the country, but at the same time, he is giving us the space to get something done, and i have been very impressed with not only the president's desire to get it done but his ability to work with us as part of a team to get that done, as leader of the team, which he is, but to get it done. >> every president in a second term worries about a legacy. i think he is worried more about getting this done than about
harming the republican party. >> senator mccain, have you talked to president obama about this? what is the state of relations these days? >> i have great respect for the president. i hope and believe that at some point, we will all be meeting with the president on this issue because we need to coordinate with the administration. but i have not seen a degree of partisanship overall as there is today. we are showing some signs of bipartisanship. this thing we just did in avoiding the nuclear option in the senate. this option that i think republicans are more inclined to let the process go forward, and senator reid is more inclined to let us have amendments. i think when we are down to an
11% approval rating, there was a favorability. different things are favorable. a colonoscopy is viewed more favorably. we were in kind of bad shape, to save the least. i will not pursue that line and a further, but i have got this old mine. a guy rides up and says, "hey, did anyone ever tell you look like senator john mccain?" and i said, "yes." and he said, "does that not sometimes make you as mad as hell?" both sides of the aisle to work more with the president then we work with each other. maybe that is a little pollyannas. >> i think, you know, american politics works in pendulum swings. i think the partisanship has reached its peak. >> you think not just on this issue but in general. >> the number one reason i am so
invested in this issue is to get it done. number two, and john and i have talked about this, this is to set a new way of doing things in the senate or the congress of coming together on issues where we can come together, and i think it can happen. i really do. >> we did the defense authorization bill. 380 amendments, and we went forward and did the right thing. i am guardedly optimistic. >> we did postal reform. towards the end of the year, little noticed, but there were some complicated pieces of legislation. they did not pass the house, most of them, but they got through the senate with a good bipartisan support. >> do you buy this pendulum idea that it reached its needier -- nader -- nadir?
>> maybe i am wrong. maybe that is not the case. we were able to make certain progress in other areas, and i think historians that study the senate will look back on this version of this nuclear option, because if it had happened, and it was going to happen unless we came up with this road map for the leaders -- >> this is the filibuster reform. >> on the filibuster, that if the senate had gone to a 51-vote body, it would have changed the nature of the united states senate forever. >> before you leave, senator schumer, you have some quality time with the president. one of the hats you where, you are chairman of the joint inaugural committee. and some of the jobs are -- >> ride in the limo with the president alone. it is a very nice limo.
in any case, we had a very nice conversation. it was not different than the one we had here about what the next four years are going to be like. i do not want to give away the president's thoughts, but i expressed the same things that we have expressed here, that it is going to get better, that there will be more agreement, and i think there is agreement. >> what is that limo like >> it is a clash, big, heavy. you can see out, but they cannot see in. >> what else did you talk about? >> that was the main thing. the main thing was that. my staff gave me a list of 22 things we needed in new york, and i was dying to ask him. i figured that was not quite appropriate. so a rare moment of restraint. a rare mowat of restraint. >> ok. let's plunge in. monday, you put out the five-
page bipartisan free more, and we would like to read between the lines. in a bipartisan agreement, it talked about electronic means of employment verification which is not able to be forged. that is code for a super social security card that would have some sort of plyometric. senator schumer, you have said you are for this. senator mccain, what is your opinion? >> i am for this. i want to remind you that the 9/11 commission made a series of recommendations, and one of the things that was not implemented was this. there is technology now that could give us the social security card, people with a social security card, that is tamperproof, and -- >> you are for that. >> but let's be clear. people say a national identification card. that is a card you would show if
a police officer came up to you. this would only be used in the same case as when you use a social security card. it just could not be forged. if we want to stop future flows, he is so right. i want to make a point. our goal is not to come back year tenure as from now. this means stopping future waves of immigration. other parts of it are something marco rubio has pushed, the entry-exit system. in other words, we have a biometric -- >> many people who are here legally have overstayed their visas. >> we have a biometric when you come into the country but not one when you leave. we have to fix that. second, the employers. why do illegal immigrants come here? it is simple. it is jobs. you can go to a province in southern mexico and make $3 per hour, below a minimum wage,
lousy conditions, you are coming. we want to make sure employers do not hire people who are here illegally. the only way to do that is to have a card that is not affordable. right now, you can go down the street here and get a social security card or a driver's license or $100 that is forged. >> it sounds like you have the language, that this biometric security guard is there. >> it may be. but i do not think everyone, some on our side, are there yet. there are too many false negatives and false positives in my judgment. we're going to have to come up with something, but on the principle, we all agree. >> someone illegal in this country, if they do not know they are illegal or not, that is one thing. we have to make sure that someone you hire someone illegally that they will be punished. >> senator mccain, the white house once the production in the
bill extended to same-sex couples. the bill- wants extended to same-sex couples. >> i warn you, if you load the bill of, you will jeopardize the issue. we are talking about four principles that we have got to act on. look. i will be glad to talk about and discuss what are the ramifications and that, but if somebody views that as the most important aspect of comprehensive immigration reform, then we just have a fundamental disagreement. >> i sponsored this bill. i am for it. i care about it. we have not discussed it yet. it will be one of the bills on the table, but as john said, we have to first get our basic structure and framework. >> border security. i will tell you what my
priorities are. so, again, if you are going to load it up with social issues, that is the best way to derail it, in my view. >> a question for you. how do you respond to critics on the left who fear that legal immigrants after the group missionary -- after the probationary period -- will you push -- >> this is very important. i want to say a couple of things. that the commission can block anybody. people can immediately get a work visa. so they are out of the shatters. they can work. they can stay in the united states if they do not have a criminal charge against them, criminal law against them. we know that. but then we have then said let's secure the border and make sure some of the parameters are met. we are defining those as we speak, before you get a green card after citizenship, but we have agreed on a few things.
every one of the 11 million who meet our criteria will be eligible. we have to figure out how to do that, and, obviously, none of us intend for people to wait a long period of time, but there is another principle on the other side, very important, to help bring marco rubio along, and to his credit, he has been talking it all along. he believes that by crossing the border illegally, you should not gain the advantage over somebody who waited their turn. somebody who applied to the u.s. embassy in january 2007, and somebody else crossed the border and is here january 2008, we all agreed that the person who waited in line in 2007 should be able to get that green card before the person in 2008. we have to figure out how to do that so it is not a long period
of time, where people roll over debt before they become, but at the same time, we have to make sure that this principle is kept, because that helps us pass the bill. two exceptions. dick durbin has worked very hard. we agree that should give special priority. >> these are -- >> and second, we need something special for agriculture, because it is a different situation. whether you where it -- were in new york dairy country or elsewhere, you cannot get americans to do this work. >> ok. senator mccain, have you speak to speaker john boehner -- heavy spoken to senator john boehner? >> something that needs to be done. real quick. the environment has changed since 2007. that is why we are guardedly optimistic. there are a whole bunch of
things out there that we have to avoid or diffuse. i am confident that cautiously optimistic we can get this done. if we do not, i think it will have ramifications, not just for republicans but for the entire country, and to have a country with 11 million people living in the shadows is not the type of country we want to teach our children about. >> what is the path to getting this through the house? >> i think probably one of the scenarios is a majority of democrats in the house and a significant and maybe a majority of republicans in the house, i would not anticipate a unanimous republican support, but i think there can be significant support. >> a larger number of republicans we get in the senate, the more likely it is we will pass it, and second, going through the process, going
through the floor and allowing them, it will help us homeless. we are going to get some amendments from very conservative members and very liberal members, and it will help refine and educate the house members about what this bill is all about in ways where it may be just as going to talk to them could not, and so i think that those things are important. a good number of republicans go through the regular way. >> asking a question, which i think is a safe topic for overtime questions, but first, what did i miss? is there something that should be button down here that i did not ask? >> moderate read state democrats from montana, those that voted against the plan in 2007 -- >> i am not going to speak for any individual senator.
look. we are going to get the overwhelming majority of senators, but we do not expect to get them all, so we will need a number of republicans to vote for the bill to get 60. >> all of the young people have a copy of the politico, which is required reading. there will be a written quiz on today's edition. [laughter] >> senator mccain, you mentioned kennedy in your remarks, and it was talked about senator schumer becoming the deal maker. he had influence with his democratic colleagues and the ability to reach across the aisle, so it is worth asking, is chuck schumer the closest thing to that right now? what did you learn from senator kennedy, or what part do you think he will play? >> i think senator schumer is assuming that role. it takes years, and i think
chuck would agree with that, but he is certainly off to a very healthy start. one thing i noticed is that he is very shy and retiring, and it is hard to give his real views out. >> in brooklyn, i am known as shibe. they are much more oppressive than i am. >> a trait that senator schumer and senator kennedy share is that, number one, they know exactly where they stand, number one, and number two, they will not change. they do not go back on their word. those are the keys to success. >> senator kennedy was a giant. he was my mentor. i admire him. i am a long way from him. >> there is a house grip -- are you guys staying in touch with them? are you staying on the same page? >> we are going to. we just came out with guidance,
so we need to take something to our house counterparts that we can agree on, but we want to work. we absolutely do, despite the traditional senate snobbery. >> we have not talked to this group. i have stayed in contact with senator durbin and menendez. they have been very supportive of what we have been doing, even if each specific is not something they support. >> that is a hard part of your role. you are kind of the bridge between the senate deal and what the white house and the left want. how do you pull them back? >> well, first, the desire to get a bill. we have been through this so many times. as john mentioned, a bill that passed and did not do their job. and more recent attempts that did not get anywhere.
just think of yourself as a hispanic leader. you have all these people knew you know and deal with and talk with who are in the shadows. they are desperate to live a life and the americans the way the other 300 million americans are. we are willing to make a compromise. this is chuck schumer, but it is almost all of the democrats and the president, and the bottom line is a path to citizenship. they have so far, and i believe it will continue, given us the kind of flexibility we need to get a bill done, because not everybody agrees with me, agrees with john, or agrees with the head of a group or another. >> as we say goodbye, sunday's super bowl. senator mccain, you have a lot of sports packages.
>> yes, i am a big sports fan. mediocre athletes are the biggest bands. that is what i was. but, you know, nobody thought the ravens would get to where they are, so i am kind of rooting for them. >> let's get predictions. >> close, a couple of points. >> but you are going ravens? >> yes. >> senator schumer? >> i went last year. i am a giants fan. i live and breed the giants. it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. i was not going to go, and it is expensive and everything else, and my wife said, "you love the giants. you may be dead before the wet
-- before they win the next super bowl." [applause] that was good logic. so i went, and i loved it. one of the things i am looking forward to is to see beyond saying -- beyonce. i think she did a great job at the inauguration. i look forward to seeing her in new orleans. she won me over early in my career. this story in "the post" was just made up. >> there was a story that said she had to apologize to senator schumer, and just to go behind the curtain, it was said that you angrily admitted. >> i was on the way out, and someone said, "has beyonce
apologized?" i was doing a press event about sandy. it was sunday morning. and on the way out, she put the microphone forward and said, "has beyonce apologized?" and i said no, and the headline was, "chuck schumer demands apology." joe flacco is from new jersey, almost new york. >> that is sufficient reason. two point. -- points. thank you for coming out. think bank of america for making these fantastic conversations possible, and thank you, senator schumer and senator mccain. thank you all. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> i will see you next time.
>> up next on c-span, former bush administration commerce secretary carlos gutierrez talks about is a group of republicans for immigration reform. later, the president's state of the union address. how foreign and defense policy will be handled. and then former representative gabrielle giffords, her husband, mark kelly, and wayne lapierre testify on gun violence. massachusetts governor patrick appointed the chief of staff as the interim senate replacement for a senator john kerry, william cowan. you can see the entire event on our website at c-span.org. >> i am not running for office at any time now or in the future.
the governor actually offered me this opportunity yesterday. i was aware that i was among the list of candidates, but as many of you know, i have focused since november on planning my return to the private sector, and that is what i had been focused on literally until that day. so -- >> what can possibly get done? >> there is much to be done. as i mentioned, i am not going by myself. we have one of the most experienced congressional caucuses that is in congress. i am going to work with them. i look forward to working with senator warren. good news for all of us is that i will have the benefit of senator john kerry's outstanding staff both here in the state of massachusetts and in washington,
d.c., so while there may be a bit of a learning curve while i find my way around the building, when i get to the office, i know i will be met with very experienced staffers they know i want to keep moving the agenda forward very much in the way senator john kerry has. >> live on booktv.or, an interview with stanley mcchrystal. he is interviewed by an author and journalist about his military career and his time as commander of u.s. forces in afghanistan. life thursday at noon eastern on booktv.org. -- live thursday. thursday, one day before stepping down from her position as secretary of state, hillary clinton speaks at the council on foreign relations. we will have live coverage starting at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> john mccain's 2000 campaign,
when he ran for president, is the most memorable campaign of any that i have ever covered, and it was just -- we will never see it begin. there he was, facing george w. bush, who had all of the face cards of the republican party backing him, the three republican governors, new hampshire, and all of the money, and john mccain went out and held over 100 town meetings, and he stayed until every question was answered, and you would see the light bulb. they would ask, "when are we going to get a patient's bill of rights?" and he would say, "we are never going to get a patient's bill of rights with my party like this." he was totally open to the press. i mean, there was a candor and an openness, sort of a welcome
this week to welcomeness that no one has seen -- there was sort of a well, ness that we did not seen before or after. >> now, more on immigration reform with former bush administration commerce secretary carlos gutierrez. he talks about his work with the super pak republicans for immigration reform. from "washington journal," this is 40 minutes. host: carlos gutierrez was commerce secretary in the george w. bush administration. now he's with the group republicans for immigration reform, which he co-founded. thanks for joining us from new york. this morning. guest: a pleasure. host: the headline in the baltimore sun today -- secretary, what do you think about the president's remarks
yesterday? it sounds like he will let congress take the lead if they can get rolling. principles are pretty straightforward and very similar. you know,it's pretty easy to agree to a set of principles. the real crunch will come in when you get into the details and when you get into the actual writing of a bill, which the last time was 700 pages. it gets into a level of complexity that sometimes we disregard. i don't think that's the part about a threat of sending his own bill was necessary. if we get to the stage where the president has to send his bill because the senate is not making progress on their bill, then i think we are done. then it's probably going to be another five years before we get to this again. i think that was the kind of
threat that you could make, but no one wants to be in that position. the important thing is to have unity of purpose, get together and to do a bipartisan approach, and get this done. both sides are going to have to a lot of compromise. host: let's listen to president obama's remarked yesterday in las vegas. [video clip] >> every day, like the rest of us, they go out and try to earn a living. often they do that in the shadow economy, a place where employers may offer them less than the minimum wage or make them work overtime without extra pay. when that happens, it's not as bad for them, it's bad for the entire economy, because all the businesses that are trying to do the right thing that are hiring people legally, paying a decent wage, following the rules, they are the ones to suffer. they have got to compete against companies that are breaking the rules. the wages and working conditions of american workers are threatened as well. if we are truly committed to strengthening our middle-class
and providing more ladders of opportunity to those who are willing to work hard to make it into the middle class, we've got to fix the system. we have to make sure that every business and every worker in america is pulling by the same set of rules. we have to bring in the shadow economy into the light so that everybody is held accountable. the businesses and the immigrants getting on the right side of the law. common sense. that's why we need comprehensive immigration reform. host: president obama speaking yesterday. secretary gutierrez, the wall street journal has a piece today called "obama's immigrationwere there warning signs in with the president said?
"guest: he did have this threat of his own bill and things like but there's no question that we need low-skilled workers and we need high skilled workers. we have to really sell on what -- settle on what it's temporary, for temporary workers there must be some market flexibility. may have someone here on a temporary basis but to as great leadership skills. the employer wants to promote them. it's unfortunate the then that they have to go back because they're only temporary. so i think there has to be simplex ability in the system. these issues you mentioned, they are so close that this is the
kind of compromise that we need. if the president has to compromise on a guest worker program or maybe having some triggers for the border before we start allowing people to get in line for green card, those should be easy things to compromise. the important thing is to get the reform, to move forward, as the president said, and not get stalemated and use this as another political ploy to hurt republicans. the important thing is the country and the progress on the policy. host: here is what a republican of texas had to say about the senate immigration proposal that we saw two days ago. what is your opinion? guest: what i say to my colleague, my republican colleagues, congressman smith, we cannot continue to dismiss every type of reform and every